Army defense: Part II

Army appears to be stacked at the safety and defensive end positions. Defensive tackle? That's a different story. wraps up its in-depth position-by-position look at the Black Knight 'D' with the above mentioned spots. Coming next week: A look at Army's special teams.

Strong safety

The man: Caleb Campbell

The skinny: Campbell could end his career as one of the best defensive players ever to play at Army. Opposing coaches spent much of last year raving about his size (6-3, 223) and toughness. Campbell led the Black Knights with 97 tackles as a sophomore last season and has been named to the 2006 Lott preaseason watch list. Campbell notched a team-high five interceptions (0.46 per game), a total than ranked ninth nationally. His five picks were the most by a Black Knight since Kenny Dale Rowland had five in 1998. Campbell had 21 interceptions against Air Force last year. Army coach Bobby Ross said this spring that there probably aren't two better safeties in the country than Campbell and Army free safety Jordan Murray.

The future: Caleb Campbell. He has two years left in the Black and Gold.

Free safety

The man: Jordan Murray

The skinny: Jordan Murray, this. Jordan Murray, that. Ross spent much of the spring talking up Murray. And for good reason. A sophomore, Murray had as good as a spring as any Army player, putting himself in position to be a starter this fall. He served as a special teamer last year. Like Campbell, Murray is a hard-hitter.

The future: A knee injury to starter Randy Chasten gave Murray his opportunity to shine during spring drills. The pair will fight for the job during preseason drills with Murray seemingly holding the edge.

Defensive ends

The men: Cameron Craig and Brandon Thompson

The skinny: Craig, a senior, was dominant at times last year, but even the newly-named captain said he wants to be more consistent this fall. Shouldn't be a problem. Craig is bigger, stronger and faster than a year ago when he had 56 tackles and led the team with five sacks. Craig has 20 career starts. Ross believes Craig and Thompson have "all-star potential". Thompson's highlight of last season came when he hit and stripped the ball from running back Chad Hall in the final minute of Army's historic 27-24 win at Air Force. Thompson had 20 tackles last year in his first year as a starter.

The future: Craig graduates after this season, leaving an opening. Freshman Elliott Antoine (6-1, 255) has put himself in position to be Craig's back-up and possibly his successor. Antoine had a good spring and was very active during the Black/Gold game. Thompson and his very capable back-up, John Wright, have two more years remaining.

Defensive tackle

The men: Tony Fusco and ........

The skinny: Fusco came out of nowhere as a sophomore last preseason to win the starting job. He played well, producing 28 tackles, including seven for a loss. Expect Fusco to be even better this year. Travis Prikryl and Pete Harrington battled for the other tackle spot during spring drills. Harrington appeared to win the job with a big spring game, but the fight could carry over to preseason camp.

The future: Fusco will hold down the fort for two more years, but Army still lacks depth and experience at the position. The Black Knights' were hit hard by graduation, losing 2005 starter Seth Lotts and seasoned back-ups Doug Meyer and Tommy Ryan.

Texas Christian quarterback Chad Huffman (12) looks for a reciever while under pressure from Army's Brandon Thompson (95) during the second quarter Saturday, Oct. 15, 2005, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Amy Conn-Gutierrez) Top Stories