Starter: Rhyan England So.
Back up: Tevin Long Jr.
Sophomore free safety Rhyan England (5-10", 186) was dealt a brutal hand last year. He was a direct admit who started his plebe year as a slotback before being moved after the season started to defense. England (29 tackles, PD) started five games but often struggled. He had a brutal game against Air Force as he was beat for two touchdown passes. He had an embarrassing moment when he fell to all fours and badly missed tackling tight end Garrett Griffin on a 54-yard touchdown pass. Against Connecticut he was beat for a 16-yard touchdown pass when he initially broke toward the flag on a post pattern. In the Western Kentucky game he was burned by the halftime Hail Mary pass as he watched the play instead of playing his man. It left Willie McNeil all alone to catch the tipped ball for the touchdown. England was beat by Fordham’s Brian Weitzel for a 65-yard touchdown on Senior Day. England has some ability but as a true freshman who was moved to defense in the middle of the season it’s not surprising he struggled. Rhyan was named first team an All-State defensive back in high school in Georgia which was one of the seasons the staff moved him to defense. England made eight tackles for the Gold team in the Black-Gold spring game. He should be a much better player this fall.
Last season Tevin Long (5-11", 200) played in ten games as the nickel defensive back and started against Fordham. He made 14 tackles and forced a fumble. Long was recruited started at quarterback at USMAPS in 2013 but was moved to defensive back after 2014's spring practice. Tevin has quick feet, is fluid and can turn and run. Tevin's technique at safety is still pretty raw but he has improved with reps. He has worked hard in the weight room and has added 30-pounds since R-day. Long played well this spring to secure the back-up job. He will probably be used again as a nickel back against teams that deploy three and four wide receiver packages.
Starter: Xavier Moss Jr.
Back up: Luke Prouix Sr.
Last season the play of the safeties was subpar and the two starters Geoffrey Bacon and Hayden Pierce are gone. Junior Xavier Moss voluntarily moved from wide receiver to safety to bring some athleticism to the position. Jeff Monken said Moss's move to safety "turned out to be a good move for us. He asked to move and have an opportunity to play on that side of the ball and I think he did some really good things. We were excited about that." Moss led the team in receptions as a plebe but failed to make a catch the last five games of the 2014 season. Moss made six receptions for 52 receiving yards and a 8.7 average last season. Xavier also led the team with two touchdown receptions. Moss (6-2", 194) is tall, athletic player with long, smooth fluid track stride and good speed. Moss was one of the top 400 meter runners in Texas as a high school senior and was a member of the USMAPS track relay team that broke a 74-year-old 4 x 400 meter record at the Penn Relays in 2013. He demonstrated good range and the ability to close on the ball in spring practice. His tackling was solid. Moss is as green as the field turf at Blaik Field when it comes to playing safety. He should improve with experience and refine his techniques as he learns the position. Monken told me Moss "did a good job, he's learning and improving. He has a chance to help us.”
Senior Luke Prouix (28 tackles) played in eight games and started two games at safety last fall. He missed spring practice with an injury. Prouix was recruited as a running back but was moved to safety. He didn't play on defense in high school and had to learn the position. Prouix is a solid football player with good instincts. He had a very prolific high school career with an excellent football program in Washington. Prouix ran for over 3,200 yards and scored 49 touchdowns as a high school junior and senior. Prouix understands the game and his assignments. Luke is willing to hit and can tackle but lacks coverage skills. He struggles in man-to-man coverage and doesn't have recovery speed if he takes a poor angle.
Army Spring Review: Safety
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