Army Incoming - Defensive Backs

A total of 79 freshmen joined the Army West Point football team on R-Day. ArmySports.com's Jim Lawler will now introduce the new Cadet defensive backs including James Gibson, Brandon Jackson, Mike Reynolds, Marcus Hyatt, Isa Muhammad, Casey Dionne, Kory Brady, Max Regan, Joe Corless, and Wilfred Ahoua.

ARMYSPORTS.com continues to review this year’s incoming freshman class by position. Army's previous staff did a nice job recruiting defensive backs. The issue was retaining them. The Black Knights will have to replace senior cornerback Chris Carnegie after this year. Fellow cornerback Josh Jenkins is the defense's best player but while he's returned to the team his future is uncertain after suffering a head injury. ARMYSPORTS.com will look at the ten defensive backs recruits who made it to R-day.

Army helped itself at free safety when it landed direct admit James "Gibby" Gibson (6-1", 200) from Westfield high school in Virginia. Gibson was a three year starter for Westfield. Last fall he made 50 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three interceptions and blocked a punt. Gibson was regarded as one of the best defensive backs in Virginia. As a senior he was named Virginia's Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-State, the Region's Defensive Player of the Year, First team All-Region, First team All-Metro, District Defensive Player of the Year and Gibson was named first team All-District for a second consecutive year.

Gibson’s recruitment shows how Jeff Monken smartly leverages his summer camps unlike the Ellerson staff which didn't hold one until their final season. Gibson's cousin had attended a military school and hated it and advised him not to bother to visit West Point for the camp. Monken staff was able to get Gibson on post last summer and he enjoyed West Point and was named the best safety at the camp. Gibson was offered and committed the following month to Black Knight defensive coordinator Jay Bateman. Gibson is a potential impact player. He is big, fast and a very physical hitter who can blow up his opponents. He has the talent to possibly compete for a starting spot as a plebe. Gibson selected Army over offers from Nevada, Old Dominion, Fordham, James Madison, Elon, Liberty, Norfolk State and Maine.



Brandon Jackson (6-0", 170) was used as the starting boundary cornerback at the United States Military Academy Prep School last fall. Jackson played his high school ball for Holy Cross on Long Island in New York. Jackson was a two-way player at cornerback and wide receiver. He was a productive special team’s player returning kicks. Jackson was named First team All-Queens after his senior season. He made a lot of big plays for Holy Cross. As a senior he had six interceptions with one returned one for a touchdown. He caught the winning touchdown pass in a final seconds victory over Mount St. Michael. Jackson's biggest play was a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter in a playoff win over St. Francis Prep.

Jackson was probably the fastest of all the defensive backs at the prep school. Jackson is an excellent athlete who is quick and agile. Jackson can accelerate and change directions. Brandon was a good wide receiver in high school and has excellent hands. He is a willing hitter. Jackson had a huge hit in the comeback win over Army JV when he sacked the quarterback and forced a fumble that prep recovered. He understands the game and coverages. Brandon's mother, Morna Davis, is a member of the U.S. Army Reserves and spent a year serving in Iraq in 2006. Jackson grew up watching Army play football and dreamed of joining the Long Gray Line. Jackson should be able to make the travel squad as a freshman and compete for a starting job down the road.



Mike Reynolds (5-11”, 175) was the starting field cornerback last season at the United States Military Academy Prep School. Reynolds was a two way player at a quality high school football program, Northview, in Alabama. Reynolds played both cornerback and wide receiver. His senior year he had three interceptions with one returned for a touchdown and added a punt return for a score. Mike also played baseball for Northview.

Reynolds led USMAPS in interceptions last year. He is a good athlete with above average speed. He is a very fundamentally sound player. Reynolds is a good cover corner with excellent ball skills. Mike does a great job of tracking the ball in the air while mirroring the wide receiver and is able to make plays on the ball. He is a solid wrap up tackler.



Marcus Hyatt (5-10", 170) is a speedy direct admit cover cornerback from Woodward Academy in Georgia. Hyatt made 51 tackles, intercepted five passes and broke up six passes. Hyatt ran a 4.57 forty yard dash and had a 36.5-inch vertical at the 2014 US Army National Combine in San Antonio. He is quick, fluid cornerback out of his backpedal and can make plays on the ball. Hyatt played football, basketball and baseball. Hyatt selected Army over Princeton, Dartmouth, Elon and Tennessee Tech.



Isa Muhammad was a backup cornerback and nickel back at USMAPS last season. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Muhammad was a versatile three year starter at defensive back and a special teams star for Riverdale high school in Georgia. As a senior he made three interceptions and returned one for a score. Isa had a kickoff return for a touchdown and blocked two field goal attempts off the edge. As a junior he had six interceptions and returned two for touchdowns He also made 35 tackles. He was Riverdale's defensive team captain.

Muhammad is a good cover cornerback with the ability to smoothly change direction. He has good speed, nice feet and a burst out of his backpedal. Isa probably possessed the best pure man-on-man coverage skills at USMAPS last fall. He was timed at 4.77 in an ESPN 40-yard dash combine event but looks faster on the field. He chose Army over offers from Kennesaw State and Presbyterian.



Casey Dionne was the strong safety last season at the United State Military Academy Prep School. Dionne (6-0”, 180) was a safety at Madison Southern in Kentucky. During the 2013 season he made 117 tackles, an interception, five pass breakups and four fumble recoveries. He was twice named All-District. Dionne was a fine leader who quarterbacked the USMAPS secondary. He has great instincts, the ability to diagnose plays and he gets others in the right position. Casey has only average speed but understands the game and angles which allows him to make some plays.



Kory Brady played safety last year for USMAPS. He spent his senior season at West Orange high school in Florida after transferring from East Ridge where he played his first three years. Kory was a wide receiver and cornerback in high school. He was hurt much of his senior season and played just five games. He caught seven passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. The 6-foot, 185-pound athlete made 23 receptions for 630 yards and 10 TDs his junior season at East Ridge. As a cornerback at East Ridge he made six interceptions and broke up 34 passes in his career. Brady entered his senior season ranked as the No. 42 prospect in the Sentinel’s 2014 Central Florida Super 60.

Brady did a solid job moving from cornerback to safety. He improved as the USMAPS season progressed. Brady has good speed and is aggressive in the box providing run support. He is fluid out of his back pedal and has good range. Kory will deliver some big hits. Brady has the position flexibility to play anywhere in the secondary but his best position is probably the free safety spot he played last season at USMAPS.



Max Regan (6-2", 184) was used at free safety last year at USMAPS. Regan played cornerback at a very good high school program Vandegrift in Texas. Regan was a teammate of fellow plebe wide receiver recruit Luke Peterman. Max posted 42 tackles, made 3 interceptions, broke up 10 pass break up and had a fumble recovery his senior season. He earned All District honors Regan adapted well to playing safety full time at the prep school. Max is tall, alert, smart and a solid tackler. Max did a nice job on the special team coverage units.



Joe Corless (6-2", 205) was moved around last year at USMAPS until he found a home at strong safety. Corless was a big possession wide receiver at Statesboro high school in Georgia. Corless is a big defensive back who is a heady player and understands the game. Joe has below average speed but is willing to hit. Corless did a nice job of run support in the box.



Wilfred Ahoua (5-8", 175) is a direct admit from Newark, New Jersey. He played at Delbarton high school. He graduated in 2012. I'm not sure what he did the last two years. Ahoua was used as a running back and defensive back. He also played basketball. He's a small cornerback with average speed.



Next: A look at incoming special teams players.

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