Josh Tate was one of the most talented players last season at the Naval Academy Prep school. He played running back and linebacker at Brentwood Academy in Tennessee. Tate was more highly regarded as a running back in high school. As a sophomore he ran 108 times for 559 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. His junior year he carried the ball 169 times for 1,062 yards. Josh's senior year he was moved to linebacker during the season because of injuries. He also rushed for 780 yards and seven touchdowns that season. Tate was vastly underrated in high school and didn't get the attention from college recruiters that his ability deserved.
A tremendous athlete, Josh is a 5-11, 180 pound safety with 4.5 speed. He is built like a rock and looks the part of a big time FBS safety getting off the bus. Tate started last season at safety before he was moved to linebacker. Tate has good size and terrific speed. On the field he looks and plays even bigger than his listed size. He has excellent range and is extremely active against the run. He is a very good open field tackler. Tate is a tough, hard hitting, physical player who makes receivers hear footsteps. He demonstrates deep recovery speed and some man-on-man coverage skills. The only negative is that Tate has played much more outside linebacker than safety in his football career. He needs more practice repetitions at safety but I would be surprised if he doesn't eventually become a starter at Navy.
A.J. Pouncey was physically nearly the opposite of Josh Tate last season at the Naval Academy Prep School. Pouncey is more a football player than a natural athlete. He is from Atascocita High School in Texas where he played cornerback. As a senior in 2009, Pouncey posted 69 tackles while picking off three passes as his team won the state championship. Pouncy earned First Team All-District honors and was named Honorable Mention All-State.
Pouncey was one of the better defensive backs last year at NAPS. A.J., who stands 6-1 and weighs 190 pounds, played at a very good high school program and understands the game. Pouncey lacks top end speed and will lose some foot races but he makes a lot of plays on the ball. He is technically sound and possesses solid coverage skills. The Scout.com high school report questioned his instincts but the coaches at NAPS didn't see it on the field. I actually thought A.J. had very good instincts but was hampered at times by only average speed. Against Fork Union Military Academy he made a terrific interception jumping a route. He needs to work on being more consistent with his tackling. Pouncey has to spend more time in the weight room to get stronger and faster. Pouncey chose Navy over offers from Army, Air Force, Sam Houston State and Northwestern State.
Lonnie Richardson (5-11, 195) played cornerback last season at the Naval Academy Prep School. Richardson was a First Team All-Central league in Pennsylvania as a cornerback his senior year. He played two ways for Strath Haven as a cornerback and running back. He rushed for 799 yards in eight games his senior year. As a junior in 2008 Lonnie had 1,400 yards rushing in 12 games with 14 touchdowns.
Richardson measures up physically. Lonnie has good quickness, acceleration and speed. He can turn and run. He has good size for a Navy defensive back with above average feet and cover skills. Richardson made a huge interception against Hudson Valley Community College. He suffered a shoulder injury last year but is fine now. Richardson's strong and is a physical hitter who could play either cornerback or safety at Navy.
Chris Ferguson played free safety last season at the Naval Academy Prep School. Johnson was recruited as an option quarterback from West Johnson High School in North Carolina. Chris has the size and speed you want in a safety. He stands 6-2 and weighs 195 and showed his speed when he ran 4.49 at the Shrine Bowl high school combine. On the field he has range, good make up speed and can close on the ball. He can hit and has excellent hands. Chris adapted last season at NAPS moving from offense to defense and he is still learning the safety position. Ferguson has a tremendous upside and really impressed the staff at the NAPS with his athleticism.
There were six direct admits this season. Parrish Gaines is a defensive back recruit from Smyrna high school in Tennessee. Gaines was more widely recruited as a wide receiver but was a two-way player in high school also playing free safety and cornerback. Last season as a cornerback he made 45 tackles and picked off three passes. He was named First Team All-Area. Gaines is 6-2, 195 pounds and runs a 4.57 forty yard dash. He is a highly regarded athlete with very good quickness and excellent leaping ability. Gaines chose Navy over offers from Vanderbilt, Brown, Harvard, Middle Tennessee, Yale and Tennessee Tech.
George Jamison is a direct admit with a family connection to Navy football. Jamison's paternal grandfather, the late Bob Jamison, was a football official who was part of the crew that officiated the first Notre Dame-Navy game that was played in Dublin, Ireland in 1996. George is a 6-0, 190 pound safety from Tennessee who was a very good two way player in high school. As a running back and option quarterback he scored a school record 43 touchdowns while rushing for 2,039 yards during his career. Jamison made 123 tackles and eight career interceptions as a defensive back. He earned Division IIA First Team All-State honors as a defensive back. Jamison is quick, moves well and is an aggressive defensive player who looks to hit everything that moves.
D.J. Beard was a two year starter at cornerback for Ola High in McDonough, Georgia. Last season the 6-0, 180 pound Beard posted 45 solo tackles and broke up 15 passes. His junior year, in 2009, he had 40 tackles, three interceptions and broke up 10 passes. Beard was named Honorable Mention Southern Crescent Conference after his senior year. D.J., who has nice size for a Navy cornerback, runs a 4.6 forty yard dash and has quick feet. Beard has the ability to play man coverage. His tackling needs work since he tends to reach, grab and drag down receivers rather than driving through them. D. J. was also recruited by Army, Elon, William and Mary and Harvard
Jimmy Britton is a big (6-2, 210) safety from Heritage High School in Arkansas. Britton, like many other defensive backs in this year's class, played two way at Heritage. He is an active and physical defensive player who is quick to support against the run. Jimmy can make the big hit and is a very good open field tackler. He lacks pure man-on-man cover skills and has average speed (4.61 speed in forty yard dash) for an FBS safety. He played safety in high school but has added over 15 pounds during the last year and may eventually project to either the raider or striker linebacker spots. Britton, whose father is a former Marine, was an early Navy commit and despite being wooed by Army late in the process stayed with his original commitment.
Togasii Peko (6-0, 177) was the starting cornerback for the nationally ranked state champion, Bishop Gorman High School, in Nevada last season. Ken Niumatalolo's Nevada and Samoan connections once again paid off when Navy landed Peko. Peko went from being an unheralded reserve as a junior to an All-Southwest Division selection his senior year. He was one of the best players on a defense that recorded eight shutouts and allowed only 80 points in 15 games last season. Peko possesses good feet and can mirror a receiver in coverage. Togasii is an above average hitter and excellent tackler. He has only average speed (4.7 forty yard dash time) so he'll probably project to safety at this level. Peko will be the third Gorman player on Navy's roster, joining offensive lineman Sam Womack and linebacker Evan Palelei. He had offers from Southern Utah, Colorado School of Mines and Air Force.
Shakir Robinson is a direct admit safety from Brunswick, Georgia. The charismatic Robinson, who is from a military family, is 5-10 and weighs 190 pounds. His sophomore year in high school he was moved from wide receiver to middle linebacker. As a junior, Robinson recorded a team-high 109 tackles at middle linebacker. As a senior he switched to safety.
Robinson is a very good athlete. In addition to football he played soccer and ran track in high school. Shakir runs a 4.5 forty yard dash and possesses good speed and range. He is quick and changes directions well. He is surprisingly strong and can deliver a wallop. He's benched 300 pounds, has lifted over 300 pounds in power cleans and 440 pounds in squats. Robinson has only one year of experience at safety so he's still learning the position. Shakir is an excellent student and chose Navy over offers from Ivy League schools among others.
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