Armysports.com looks at the projected defensive players from the Black Knights 2015 recruiting class. Defensive line and the front seven is an area of concern with Army graduating five of last year’s seven starters. Jeff Monken and his staff did a nice job in upgrading the athleticism on this side of the ball with his first full recruiting class.
The most highly regarded of the defensive recruits was talented Scout.com three star defensive end commit Kenneth Brinson. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive lineman was a three year starter at Marist high school in Georgia. As a senior in 2014, Brinson made 42 tackles, nine for loss, five sacks and 13 quarterback hurries. He was named All-State, All-Region, and All-County. Brinson is a fast player who is an explosive hitter and is a terrific pass rusher off the edge. Brinson is a two-time state wrestling champion and starred in track in the shot put, discuss, and the hammer. He was state champion in the discus and was a member of the U.S. Junior Olympic team. Brinson chose Army over offers from Air Force, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Utah, Wake Forest, Stanford, and Yale.
Will Yancey is a 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end who was a four-year starter at Landmark Christian School in Georgia. Yancey was named 2014 Lineman of the Year in the Georgia Class A, Region 5B. Yancey is a big effort player who makes a lot of negative plays in the opponents backfield. Yancey chose West Point over Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Furman, Fordham, Jacksonville State, Chattanooga and Davidson.
Army beat out Navy and Tuskegee for Khalil Yelding, a 6-foot-1, 290-pound, defensive tackle from Daphne High School in Alabama. Yelding was a three-year varsity starter at nose guard who has bench pressed 360 pounds. Yelding's father played basketball at Alabama State and he is the cousin of former NFL and West Virginia star Pat White. Yelding is a big physical nose guard who is surprisingly quick off the snap.
Jeff Monken's focus on summer camps paid dividends when Army secured the commitment of defensive end Julian Meares. Meares (6-2", 220) is from John Carroll School in Maryland. Julian was named by the staff the top defensive lineman at Army's camp last June. He committed the following month. Last year Meares played in nine games and made 79 total tackles with 16.5 sacks during his senior season. He's was a three-time All-Harford County and All-Upper Chesapeake Bay Conference selection and was named second team All-Metro as a senior. He played in the Maryland Crab Bowl All-Star game. Meares will begin his career at the United States Military Academy prep school.
Nathan Rodriguez is a 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive end from Westerville Central high school in Ohio. Rodriguez was a late bloomer who started the last two years but broke out and earned Second Team all-state honors as a senior. Rodriguez made 43 tackles, posted 5 1/2 sacks, forced three fumbles and recovered four fumbles. Nathan is a big effort player with a nonstop motor and above average quickness who needs to get stronger. He has the frame to add more muscle at defensive end.
Defensive end recruit Tanner Sheffield (6-3", 245) is from North Paulding high school in Georgia. As a senior in 2014 he made 54 tackles and recorded a sack. Sheffield committed to Army last summer. Army was Sheffield's only offer at the time of his early commitment but was hearing from Yale, Harvard, Navy, Dartmouth, Georgia Southern and Air Force.
Another player from the Georgia pipeline is direct admit defensive end Nick Steinhaus. The 6-foot-1, 237-pound defensive end from Milton high school recorded 75 tackles, 30 tackles for a loss and 17 1/2 sacks last season. Nick was named the NUC All American game defensive MVP. Steinhaus earned All-State, All-Area and All-league recognition. Steinhaus is a very good athlete who is actually was an acrobat with a Cirque du Soleil style show and can easily do back-flips which is amazing for his size. Nick has a max bench press of 395- pounds and a squat of 635- pounds. Steinhaus is a natural pass rusher who has a quick burst off the ball. He was originally a Southern Illinois commit before signing with Army.
Roderick Stoppard (6-0, 250) is a productive but undersized defensive lineman from state champion Hillcrest high school in South Carolina. The All-Region 1-AAAA defensive end posted 69 tackles and eight sacks as a senior. Roderick can bench press 350 pounds and press 500 pounds. Stoddard didn't attract many FBS offers because of his height. He was a standup defensive end at Hillcreast and could project to outside linebacker in the Black Knights 3-4 scheme.
Amadeo West (6-2", 235) was an impact edge rusher for Oceanside Oceanside High in California at defensive end. West finished the season with an impressive 21 quarterback sacks for a team that went 14-1 his senior season. He chose Army over offers from Montana State, UC Davis and Sacramento State. Army wants West as an outside linebacker but he could add weight and end up playing defensive end.
Raymond Wright (6-3", 265) of Ardrey Kell High School in North Carolina is a fast, active Scout two star nose guard. He had his best season as a senior when he earned All-Conference honors. The direct admit made 50 tackles, four sacks, forced two fumbles, made two fumble recoveries and blocked field a field goal as a junior. He can help at defensive end or nose tackle. He chose Army over offers from Charlotte and Elon.
T.J. Jackson is a 5-foot-11 and 240-pound two-way player from prep powerhouse Trinity Christian high school in Florida. Trinity Christian had 15 players sign scholarships with 12 of those headed to Football Bowl Subdivision programs. Jackson played both defensive end and as a blocking fullback for the Class 3A state champions. Jackson is undersized but quick and strong. The Scout.com two star rated recruited has benched pressed 360 pounds and can squat 515 pounds. Jackson chose Army over offers from Wofford and Charleston Southern.
Army Signing Day Review: Defensive Line
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