Army Spring Review: Linebackers (SAM)

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 Sam linebackers.

In May the Army Black Knights athletic department released the post spring football depth chart. Army's defense features five returning defensive starters. The good news is that Army best defensive players at inside linebacker and cornerback return. However, Army needs to replace five of the defensive front seven starters from last year. Considering that the Black Knights defense allowed opponents 5.3 yards a carry last year that might not be a bad thing. Army had used the same linemen essentially since 2012 but saw little improvement in results and overall production from the defensive line. Army's defensive coordinator Jay Bateman's defense had some moments last fall but the reality is the defense actually allowed 16 more points than they did in 2013. Armysports.com will discuss the post spring game defensive depth chart.

SAM LINEBACKER
Starter: Bayle Wolf So.
Backup: Blake Goddard So.
With the graduation of seniors Stephen Ricciardi and Addison Holstein, Army must replace both of last year's SAM linebackers. Sophomore direct admit Bayle Wolf won the starting SAM linebacker job this spring. The six foot, 205-pound Wolf impressed the staff with his athleticism. Wolf was a prolific two way player for two time state champion Clinton-Massie high school in Ohio. He was named the 2013 Ohio Offensive Player of the Year. He also earned 2013 Max Preps second-team All-America honors. Bayle ran for 5,473 yards and 102 touchdowns during his high school career. Despite his lofty rushing numbers his game projects to the outside linebacker spot. He showed his athletic ability at a summer Yale football camp before his senior season when he ran a 4.5 time in the 40-yard dash, a 4.1 shuttle, and benched pressed 225 pounds 27 times. Wolf isn't that big and played in a small high school conference so he didn't get a ton of Division I interest despite his impressive production. Wolf showed this spring he could be a player at the FCS level.

Fellow direct admit sophomore Blake Goddard (5-11”, 204) won the backup SAM linebacker job. Goddard played well this spring. He made seven tackles for the Gold team in the Black-Gold game. Blake can run, chase and change directions. At Kirkwood High School he was captain of his team that won the 2012 state championship. He earned Class 5A All-State honors as a junior linebacker. He missed half his senior season with an injury. Goddard is a versatile athlete who excelled on both sides of the ball and as a track and field athlete. Hopefully both Wolf and Goddard can add some weight this off season to be better able to take on blockers.

ArmySports.com Top Stories