Army Incoming – Offensive Linemen

A total of 79 freshmen joined the Army West Point football team on R-Day.'s Jim Lawler will now introduce the new Cadet offensive lineman including Rowan Godwin, Ethan Palelei, Nick Miller, Tyler Young, Jericho "Riko" Tamasese, Josh Rea, Tim Gant, Joseph Hansbury, Rick Kurz, Demarko Hill, Austin Schuffert, Kaveinga Tuitahi, Quinten Parker and Victor Nieves. continues its review of this year’s incoming freshman class by position. Army head coach Jeff Monken told me this spring that the offensive line "needs to get more athletic and that is a focus of recruiting." This area of the team is being transformed by the Monken staff which uses the Navy template of bigger interior option linemen. This group was a nice mix of five direct admits, eight offensive linemen who played last season at the United States Military Academy Prep School and a rare transfer.

Rowan Godwin (6-4", 270) is a direct admit who played offensive guard and defensive line for Providence Christian School in Alabama. He was a four-year letterman in football and a three-year starter on the offensive line. As a senior he served as team captain. Rowan's father Joe was a linebacker for Alabama in his playing days. He is a long, tall, strong lineman with good feet who is explosive through his hips. Godwin is a good run blocker who averaged four pancake blocks per game. Godwin was offered by Columbia, Jacksonville State, South Dakota State, and West Florida and had two preferred walk-on invitations from Auburn and Troy but decided on the Black Knights who offered him first.

Ethan Palelei is a 6-1", 290- pound direct admit offensive guard from Las Vegas, Nevada. Palelei is a two-star prospect who started for National and State high school champion Bishop Gorman. Palelei’s father, Lonnie Palelei, spent seven years in the National Football League. Ethan's brother Evan was a two year starter and a good defensive end at Navy. Palelei possesses the size, feet and natural strength that runs in the family genes. Palelei chose West Point over his brother's Alma mater Navy.

Nick Miller (6-1", 260) is a two way lineman from Jesuit High School in Oregon. As a senior he earned First team All-State on offensive line. Miller was a two time First team All-Metro player. He was ranked as the seventh best offensive lineman in the state. Miller didn't get a lot of Division I interest because he is short and undersized for an FBS lineman. Miller is an athletic left tackle who is quick off the ball and looks to be a good fit for Army's option offense. Miller was well coached in high school and is very technically sound in his approach.

Tyler Young is a 6-foot-two inch, 255-pound direct admit right tackle from Warren Central high school in Indiana. Young is an athletic right tackle who was a two star recruit. He is lean and moves well. Tyler can easily get to the second level and does a nice job moving his feet in pass protection. He lacks natural bulk as he looks almost thin at 255 pounds. He'll need to mature and get stronger and has the frame to add additional weight.

Jericho "Riko" Tamasese (6-1", 225) is an undersized direct admit mobile guard from Archbishop Riordan high school in California. Tamasese played both ways at Archbishop Riordan. Riko was named First-Team WCAL lineman as an offensive guard last season. Riko is the younger brother of current Army guard Lofi Tamasese. I should say he is the little brother because Riko is about eighty pounds lighter than his literally big brother. Riko is smart, mobile and tough but he's a development prospect at this point. He needs to spend at least a year in Tim Caron's weight program to become a factor.

Josh Rea (5-10", 250) is a rare community college transfer to West Point. Rea graduated from Marshall County high school in 2012. He played center at Northern Mississippi Community College in 2013. Josh was a two-time all-district lineman and a two-time preseason all-state selection at Marshall County. Rea was named the best offensive lineman in his district in after the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The undersized Rea has showed solid quickness running a 4.97 20- yard shuttle at an ESPN combine. Josh is short but his skill set fits the profile of an option offensive lineman. His older brother Zach played football at the University of Memphis.

There are eight offensive linemen who played last year at the United States Military Academy Prep School offensive line. Tim Gant started every game last fall at left tackle at the prep school and may have been the most consistent. Gant is a 6-2”, 265 pound left guard who played at Christian Brothers high school in St. Louis, Missouri. He was recruited by Ellerson's staff but committed after Jeff Monken was hired. Gant was a champion high school wrestler who is very strong and understands leverage. Tim is smart, sound and gets into his blocks quickly. He has the mobility, feet, balance and agility Army needs in a triple option tackle. Tim chose Army over an offer from Drake.

Joseph Hansbury (6-3", 253) was a starting guard at the United States Military Prep School last fall. He played both guard spots. Joe attended Archbishop Ryan high school in Pennsylvania. Hansbury was a First Team All Catholic selection his senior season. Hanbury helped Samir Bullock who signed with Delaware achieved over two thousand rushing yards in 2013. He was the only third player in city history to surpass 2,000 yards. Hansbury had attended Army camp and been recruited by former coach Tom Simi but hadn't received an offer at the time Ellerson was fired. Hansbury committed initially to Division II Mercyhurst University but switched when Monken's staff took a second look and made an offer. Joe also won the City heavy weight wrestling championship.

Joe Hansbury is Philly tough, hardnosed and mobile. Hansbury is quick off the snap and did a very nice job blocking on the belly dive. He is big effort player who is relentless and finishes his blocks. Joseph had an offer from Sacred Heart in addition to the Mercyhurst University offer before deciding to accept Army and join the Long Gray line.

Rick Kurz attended the United States Military Prep School last year but was injured in preseason camp and missed the entire season. He was a two year starter at St. Xavier in Ohio. Kurz (6-2”, 265) was Saint Xavier's team captain. Kurz was the first member of his family to make it to West Point after a few tries. Kurz’s grandfather, Dick, was accepted into West Point with two years of service under his belt but decided not to enroll at West Point. Kurz’s father, Rich, was denied entrance to West Point. Rick was a First-team All-Greater Catholic League South left tackle in Ohio. He comes off the ball well with power and looks to finish his blocks. Rick is healthy now and ready for summer camp. Kurtz chose Army over Indiana State.

Austin Schuffert (6-2", 250) was the starting center at USMAPS last season. Schuffert played his high school football at a very good Prattville high school program in Alabama. Austin comes from a military family. Schuffert’s father serves in the Air Force. Austin was moved from left tackle to center by USMAPS head coach Andy Wolfrum at the prep school. He adapted well because he understands the game. He did a nice job handling all the line calls and being the leader of the linemen up front. He is very alert, sound and a good technician. Coach Monken likes his center to be physically bigger so its possible Adam could be moved to tackle or guard. Schuffert is versatile enough to play any position on the offensive line.

Kaveinga Tuitahi was in the guard rotation at the United States Military Prep School last fall when he was healthy. Tuitahi is a 6-3”, 300 pound who played both offense and defense for Lutheran high school in California. Kaveinga started at Lutheran when current Army offensive line coach Todd Spencer was Lutheran's head coach in 2012. Tuitahi came into the USMAPS season with the advantage of having played in the system and understanding the option blocking techniques. He missed time early in the season with a knee injury. When he returned to the lineup he made an immediate impact. Tuitahi is very powerful and has great natural strength in his hands. He is uses his hands well and can lock defensive linemen out. He can maul and overpower opponents. Tuitahi has a promising upside if he can stay healthy and continues to improve.

Quinten Parker was one of the biggest surprises last season at USMAPS. He wasn't a recruit but was given the opportunity to walk-on at USMAPS and compete. He did more than compete. He outplayed some more highly regarded recruits and won the right tackle job in preseason. He started every game at right tackle. The undersized 6-1”, 225 pound offensive lineman played his high school ball at Desert Hills in Utah. Parker is a mobile, active hardworking lineman who understands blocking angles and positioning. Parker doesn't appear to have the frame to add much weight. Quinten may end up as a blocking tight end in Army's heavy formations. Parker was listed as a direct admit on the official R-day list but I can confirm he started and played all year at USMAPS.

Victor Nieves (6-4", 300?) is one of those mystery weights that show up on the R-day list. Victor was listed at a svelte 235 pounds. Nieves probably last weighed that much in the seventh grade. Nieves weighed 330 pounds when he graduated from high school. He was a backup offensive guard and center at the United States Military Prep School last fall. Life at the prep school thinned him down a bit but unless they locked him in a sweat box he didn't lose one hundred pounds. Nieves weighs at least 300 pounds. He played guard and center at Northview High School in Alabama where he was a two year starter. Victor earned First Team All-Region honors. Nieves originally committed to Jacksonville State in 2013 but Army's offensive coordinator Brent Davis convinced him that West Point was the place for him. Victor is more of a zone run blocking lineman playing in a spread option offense. He is a natural wide-body with some movement skills. Nieves needs to build on last year and improve his conditioning and endurance to maximize his ability.

Next: A look at the incoming defensive linemen. Top Stories