Army leaders 2009: Offense

As the 2009 Army football team approaches preseason drills a significant question mark for the squad is who will provide vital needed leadership? Here's a list of players on the Black Knight offense that we believe will provide some of that leadership.

Damion Hunter WR (5-10, 166, Sr.)- In a revamped offense Hunter is a familiar face and will be counted on to lead the Army receivers. The Florida native has 17 career catches including a 47-yarder at Air Force last season. Hunter has the quickness and good hands to be an effective receiver in head coach Rich Ellerson's option offense. Look for his reception numbers to improve in 2009.

Jason Johnson OT (6-3, 251, Sr.)- One of the biggest concerns of the 2009 Army football team is the lack of experience on the offensive line. Jason Johnson is one of the only returning linemen that actually have significant starting experience. He has 16 career starts and should be an asset on the line. Unfortunately he missed all of spring drills because of an injury but the Army staff is confident in his abilities and lists him as a starter heading into preseason practice. His leadership will be vital to the development of the Black Knight offensive line.

Ian Smith SB (5-8, 180, Sr.)- Smith is the lone senior on the depth chart for the Army slot backs. After spring drills he was listed as the starter for this very important Army position. He has only three career starts, his best performance was last season against Louisiana Tech when he rushed for 41 yards and caught two passes, including one for the winning score. Slot backs that can catch as well as run will be important in Ellerson's offense and Smith appears to have the tools to accomplish the task.

Chip Bowden QB (6-0, 211, Jr.)- Bowden saw the most reps last season of any Army quarterbacks and finished the spring at the top of the depth chart. Although he has great running skills he often struggled in the passing department, completing just 31 of 72 passes for 282 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Despite the fact that incoming plebe signal caller Trent Steelman is expected by many to eventually challenge for the starting position, Bowden recently expressed confidence in an ArmySports.com article by Adam Nettina that he would remain the starter. Regardless of whether he remains the starter or not he will be counted on to provide leadership at that position either as a starter or a mentor to the new field general (a capacity that Carson Williams could also help with).

Other potential Army leaders:

Ali Villanueva WR (6-10, 283, Sr.)- Nation's tallest wide receiver looked good in the spring. He's a senior and will be counted on to help lead.

Mikel Weich OG (6-3, 277, Jr.)- One of the few Army offensive linemen that actually has playing experience. Won a starting position during spring. Will be looked upon for leadership.

Patrick Mealy SB (5-8, 203, Jr.)- Talented runner who has 399 career rushing yards. Heading into preseason drills he is listed as a starter at one of the slot back position.

Coming next we'll check out the top leaders on the Army defense.

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