Elliott Antoine and the road to West Point

Defensive end Elliott Antoine (6-1, 266) who starred at Worcester Academy in Worcester, Mass. talked with ArmySports.com extensively about his recruitment to the United States Military Academy. Antoine, who is blessed with 4.67 speed, also has good strength as indicated by his ability to bench 320 pounds. Read on and find out how this prospect came to be a Black Knight:

Elliott Antoine was looking at Navy when an Army officer he knew got him in contact with Army. Antoine's father, who is a retired Army Colonel, had encouraged Antoine to consider West Point but Elliott wasn't sure he wanted to take that route.

"I mainly watch pro football and I had no idea who Bobby Ross was until my father explained to me and I was impressed.

Coach Gary Miller was the first coach that talked to me from Army. Later, about the time of the Massachusetts State Championship game, Coach Miller called my high school coach and asked about my stats."

After that, Antoine didn't hear much from Army. He was talking to several 1-AA schools, including William & Mary and pretty much had reserved himself to playing Division 1-AA ball after high school.

Clarence Holmes, Army's defensive line coach, then called Antoine about three weeks ago. Holmes said he had seen film on Antoine and was going to talk to Bobby Ross and tell him what a good player he was. A few days later Holmes called back to share that Coach Ross had put him on the board as one of the top defensive lineman coming in and he really wants to get him to the Academy.

Elliott was flattered but told coach Holmes he wouldn't be able to visit until after the signing date. Lehigh and Hampton were schools that Elliott had scheduled to visit the two weekends prior to National Signing Day.

Coach Holmes called back a few days later and spoke with Antoine. Holmes spoke with Antoine and related well with him. Holmes, who is a USMA graduate himself, reflected on his own tough decision as a young player coming out of high school. Holmes explained the benefits of an education at West Point, such as a guaranteed job after graduation and the respect a West Point degree carries in the business world. The talk by Holmes convinced Antoine to forego his visits to the other schools and visit West Point.

Antoine and his Dad visited West Point. They went in the Army locker room and Elliott saw his name on the door of a locker. They gave Antoine an information folder on West Point, "I knew about Grant and Lee, I didn't know about MacArthur and Eisenhower and all those people who went there." Elliott was impressed with what he learned about West Point. Later, after speaking with Coach Ross, he and other prospects watched 100 years of Army Football. The film was inspiring to Antoine and helped him to realize the great tradition that he had the opportunity to be a part of.

Antoine later visited Miche Stadium along with the weight training facility and came away even more impressed with what he saw. "I've seen the weight room that the New England Patriots use and it doesn't hold a match to West Point's facility," said Elliott.

After the facility visit, Antoine spoke with Coach Holmes who asked him where he stood. Antoine replied that he was leaning about 90% towards West Point.

Antoine spent that night in the barracks with the Cadets while his father stayed at a guesthouse at the Academy. That evening, Antoine had a lengthy discussion with a Ranger qualified Cadet who gave Antoine a good rundown on the ups and downs of Academy life. The Cadet answered many of Antoine's questions about the Academy and encouraged him to attend West Point. "I went to sleep that night thinking I'm going to commit," explained the speedy defensive end.

The next morning Antoine and the other prospects rejoined their parents and the Army Coaching staff for breakfast. Coach Bobby Ross talked again with Antoine and explained to him that he wanted to get him on the team. Ross asked Antoine where he stood; Antoine replied, "I'm going to commit." Coach Ross then had Antoine shake on it. Antoine had never seen his father so happy.

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