Army Spring Review: Tackles

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 offensive tackles.

TACKLES
Starters: LT Justin Gilbert Sr., RT Drew Hennessy Sr.
Backups: LT Ryan Alexander Sr., RT Brett Toth So.
The positive up front on the offensive line is the return of senior tackle Justin Gilbert. Gilbert was injured last year in preseason camp and missed the entire season. He is fully recovered and Monken told me he's, "glad to have him back. He's certainly the best athlete we've got on offensive line, that's a positive. He's a bright spot for us". The offensive line missed Gilbert last season. He was moved from right tackle to left tackle to take advantage of his good feet, balance and agility. Justin has long arms and is very athletic for his size. He is able to get to the second level consistently to take out linebackers. Gilbert plays hard and really gets after opposing linemen until the whistle blows. Gilbert has developed into the quality tackle Armysports.com predicted in our 2012 R-day report. He sat out the Black-Gold game. Ryan Alexander will back up Gilbert. As we discussed previously, he will be used as an in line blocker at tight end when Army uses its heavy formation or on some running plays. Alexander started three games at left tackle last fall after being moved from defensive end during the season. Alexander is a good athlete but is still learning to play offensive tackle.

While Justin Gilbert was the can't miss R-day recruit in 2012 the other tackle, senior Drew Hennessy, was a pure development prospect. He was a long, lean USMAPS backup who played hard but needed to spend a lot of time in the weight room to develop his strength and become a factor down the road. Hennessy put in the work, added over thirty pounds and filled out his frame. Hennessy opened last season as starting left tackle but ineffectiveness and injuries cost him his job. After missing time he was eventually moved to right tackle and then back to left tackle for the Navy game. Drew played in ten games and started six. His injuries hurt him. Being 6-foot-7 he at times he's lost leverage and lacked great feet to block consistently on the move. He played well at the start of the year but injuries limited his effectiveness. The move to right tackle from left tackle is a better fit for him. Direct admit sophomore Brett Toth won the back up right tackle spot. He is a long, lean 6-foot 6 inch, 242-pound offensive tackle from South Carolina. Toth offers nice length, quickness and should fill out his frame in the weight room as he matures.

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