Army's Barrett Scruggs: "Just hit someone"

WEST POINT- Army outside linebacker Barrett Scruggs entered last season with one career start. So the question remained: Could Scruggs make an impact in his first year as a starter?

His answer: A resounding yes. Scruggs proved to be one of the leaders of the Black Knights' revived defense.

He was second on the team with 80 tackles last fall as a junior and named a captain by his teammates this spring along with center Pete Bier, defensive end Cameron Craig and wide receiver Walter Hill. All four will make great captains. What stands out about Scruggs is that it took him just one season to make an impact on his Army teammates.

Bier, Craig and Hill entered 2005 with a combined 32 starts.

"It's a great honor knowing your teammates respect you enough to put you in a position to represent them in front of the whole world," Scruggs says.

Scruggs is a throwback, he's old school. His favorite player? Former Chicago Bears linebacker/intimidator Mike Singletary.

His mentality on the field?

"You just have to hit someone," Scruggs says. "If you don't, the other team won't respect you."

Scruggs cuts down running backs who get through Army's interior defense before they hit the secondary. He's fast – he runs a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash. He makes plays all over the field. Although he made just one start in 2004, Scruggs, who is 6-foot, 210 pounds, appeared in 11. He made 18 tackles, including four behind the line of scrimmage, and had two sacks. Scruggs earned his first career start against Connecticut after a breakout performace against Houston a week earlier.

He had a sack and blocked an extra point against Houston. He followed that up by making what was then a career-high eight tackles versus UConn. Scruggs made 73 of his 80 tackles last fall came over the final nine outings (8.1 per game) as he helped Army's defense move from last in the country (177th) in total defense to 37th. "It wasn't just me. I see how hard everyone else works in the offseason," Scruggs says. "The whole team deserves credit."

Scruggs earned an honor before last year's Army-Navy game when he was asked to wear the same Ranger patch worn by Private John Henderson Jr. Henderson of Columbus, Ga. died while serving with the 3rd battalion 75th Ranger Regiment last Aug. 4 while serving in Afghanistan.

He was 21 years old - 23 days into his first tour. Henderson's father, John Sr., called the Academy and asked if a player could wear the patch to honor his fallen son.

Scruggs was grateful to wear the patch. He was honored. Just like he's honored to be an Army captain.


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