Maimone emerged as a potential starter during spring drills, raising the level of his play throughout the session. One of Ross' most pleasant surprises on the defensive side of the ball this spring, Maimone adjusted nicely to Army's new stop scheme after shouldering reserve duty for the most part last fall. He was voted the defense's most improved player at the conclusion of spring drills.
"Greg Washington had an outstanding spring," states Ross. "He consistently performed at a high level and is one of the leaders of our defense. Matt Maimone was the biggest surprise at the position. He really stepped up at ‘mike' linebacker and played very well. He gives us a little size in there. He's gotten a bit bigger and obviously stronger. His effort, intensity and skill level were outstanding the entire spring."
Ross is also excited about the play of some of the younger linebackers in his program, particularly sophomore Cason Shrode and junior David Clamon at the "mike" position and sophomores Barrett Scruggs and Felice Terrigno at the "sam" spot.
Blessed with an excellent combination of size, speed and toughness, Shrode appears to be an impact player in the making, while Scruggs possesses excellent intangibles and is in the middle of every pile-up. A physical defender who enjoys contact, Clamon was voted the team's most improved special teams player this spring.
"I like the younger players we have at linebacker," Ross adds. "We are very high on Cason Shrode and Barrett Scruggs. They both have a chance to be special players in the future. And David Clamon is one of the hardest workers, if not the hardest worker, on our squad. He is going to be a situational player for us. He's a great ‘effort' player and he's very tough. He exudes a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm. He could end up being the captain of our special teams and will also play in some situations on defense. David is going to have a role for us, and it's going to be a key role."
A combination between a strong safety and an outside linebacker, head coach Bobby Ross has introduced the "whip" position into Army's defensive scheme. Several players that filled outside linebacker spots in the Black Knights' former 4-4 set converted easily to the new hybrid position with athletic senior Mikel Resnick and talented sophomore Randy Chasten emerging as the leading contenders for playing time.
A three-time letterwinner, Resnick split time between inside and outside linebacker in Army's former defensive system and ranked fifth among team tackle leaders last fall. He boasts great speed and quickness and reacts instinctively to the football. Chasten harbors impressive natural ability and continues to improve with every practice session.
"Mikel Resnick runs very well," says Ross. "He's one of the fastest players on our team and is very strong. He continues to learn the position and has done a good job. Behind him is a real talented young player in Randy Chasten. He's just got to become more familiar with our system in order to be a major contributor."
Junior "walk-on" Cannon Woods rounds out the three-deep.