Army Spring Review: Slotbacks

Army recently completed its spring drills. ArmySports.com’s Jim Lawler will now review every Black Knight position and name a starter, a backup and a third string player to watch. In this segment he reviews the slotbacks (A-backs).

SLOTBACKS (A-Backs):
Starter: John Trainor So.
Back up: Louis Napoles So.
Slotback has moved from a team strength to a weakness. Terry Baggett (1,704 career rushing yards), Raymond Maples (2,878 career rushing yards), versatile Tony Giovannelli and Trenton Turrentine all are gone. That leaves junior Joe Walker as the only returning slotback who was in the rotation last year.

I liked that the staff moved John Trainor from wide receiver to slotback. Trainor (5-11”, 179) was a playmaker at the prep school in 2013 when where he posted a three touchdown game. As a plebe he played in six games but missed time with a sprained ankle. Head coach Jeff Monken told me he was “excited about John, he's a very good athlete, very smooth, athletic and he certainly has a chance to help us if he can figure it all out from a fundamental standpoint". John has excellent quickness and is faster than one would think. Trainor has great hands, catches everything and is a solid blocker. The main issue will be if his wiry, rail thin frame holds up to the FBS pounding. He missed some practice time this spring when he was nicked up and was knocked out of the Black-Gold game on the opening series. If he stays healthy he can help and make plays.

Sophomore Louis Napoles (5-6", 170) was originally a sprint football recruit and was the "Invincible" Vince Papale like story of this spring in earning the back-up spot at A-back. Napoles was a backup slotback at USMAPS in 2013 and played behind more talented varsity recruits who all since left the program. He played sprint football last year. Louis ran for a modest 184 yards, a 3.6 average and a score and caught seven passes for 58 yards. Napoles did excel at returning punts for the sprint team. He returned eight punts for 142 yards, posting a 17.8 average and returned punt 91-yards for a touchdown against Penn. Napoles is short but is a workout warrior with decent quickness. He is a big effort player who will give his all. However his ascension up the depth chart illustrates the lack of Division I talent at slotback this spring. I expect to see some of Monken's incoming USMAPS and direct admit recruits push him for his spot this summer.

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