Army fans can look forward to a young Black Knights' roster with improved depth and athleticism as the team tries to reverse the misfortunes of the past few seasons. Fortunately, with an experienced cohort of upperclassmen returning for the 2003 campaign, Berry will likely have to rely less on this group having to make an immediate impact. Nevertheless, I expect to see 6-10 players from this group receive varsity letters after the 2003 campaign wraps up.
On the offensive side of the ball, opportunity is knocking for both running back recruits, Andre Broussard and Tielor Robinson. Broussard appears to be of the elusive speedy running back style that Todd Berry seems to prefer. His arrival will lessen the loss of Marcellus Chapmen and Ardell Daniels to the backfield mix. Robinson will provide the Black Knights with a power running inside option that is capable of moving the chains. His arrival will lessen the graduation loss of the Josh Holden. Both of these players will provide depth behind returning starter Carleton Jones and a cast of several inexperienced returning back-ups. I expect both to receive some playing time in 2003.
At quarterback, Army brings in 3 solid players who will have to work hard to move up the depth chart behind 5 returning quarterbacks. With Army's misfortune with inexperienced quarterbacks in 2002, it is unlikely that any of these recruits will see game action in 2003, but their presence bodes well for the future.
The tight end position will see a number of plebes stepping up to provide depth. Headlining this group is outstanding tight end prospect Chase McCoy, a 3-star recruit, who was rated as among the top 25 tight ends in the country. He will be joined by a couple of very solid highly rated players from Pennsylvania in Tim Dunn and David Green. Both of these players were Top 100 players at their position. With a stock of quality tight ends in the fold, it is possible that position changes to either offensive line or defensive end may be in store at some point for at least one of the tight ends on the current roster.
The offensive line will see its depth improve vastly with the arrival of 8 players at this position, 5 of whom are 6-3, 280, or larger. Their arrival bodes well for the future as Army has only 3 offensive lineman on the roster in the Class of 2006. Expect a number of these players to be lettering as yearlings in 2004 and starting along the front wall in 2005. One headliner in this group appears to be Zac Maodus, 6-3, 280 pounder, who played for powerful St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, a school that perennially provides a number of recruits to the top programs in the country. Nathan Collier, a 6-7, 325 pounder, who could be Army's biggest lineman ever before he is through, comes in highly regarded from Texas. Maodus and Collier are only two of the notables from a very strong group.
At receiver, Walter Hill, 6-0, 185, comes in highly regarded from the Prep School. He could find himself in the mix for playing time among an experienced group of returning upperclassmen at this position. Sean Navin also brings speed and athleticism to the mix.
The defensive backfield will have a major upgrade in depth with the arrival of twins Chris and Sean Grevious from the Prep School. These two speedsters have all the physical tools to develop into quality Division 1-A cornerbacks. The were both Top 100 players at their position coming out of high school in 2002 and should be poised to crack the three deep. Expect both to be key back-ups to two-year starters Delante Brewer and Jonathon Lewis and to earn letters in 2003. Also noteworthy in this group is Bryan Vavruska, a 6-2, 185 pound safety who is cut from the same mold as former Army All C-USA safety Kenny Dale Rowland. Vavruska could end up being the back-up and heir apparent to free safety Lucius Weaver.
The defensive line brings in six players to add depth to the 10 players who make up the post-spring depth chart on the defensive front. Most noteworthy, Army is bringing in some size to make up for the graduation losses of Clarence Holmes, Paddy Heiliger, Seth Langston and Brian Horvath. With Army returning 5 players with starting experience to the defensive line, nobody from the recruited group will be needed to make an immediate impact. However, I expect one or more from this group to see some playing time in a back-up role at some points during the season. Most noteworthy among this group is tackle Travis Prikryl, a 6-4, 255 pound two-star recruit from Texas.
At linebacker, Army is bringing in only two players. Cason Shrode has the size and prep credentials to make a big impact as a potential future starter for the Black Knights. Barrett Scruggs comes in from Florida with nice size and the potential to be an impact player for the Black Knights in the years ahead.
Recruiting and facility improvements have been progressing well for Army football over the past few years. On-field success is hopefully only right around the corner. Army fans everywhere welcome the recruiting class of 2003 and wish them well in their cadet careers and in their efforts to help Army achieve success on the gridiron in the years ahead.