Meet the New Mids: Special Teams

Navy is entering the 2011 season with a new starting kicker and punter. This year's incoming Mid kicker, punter and top special teams performers attended the Naval Academy Prep school. In the final segment of our incoming players series, takes a look at the new Mids joining Navy's special teams.

Ken Niumatalolo's staff landed a good punter in Pablo Beltran who attended the Naval Academy Prep School last season. Beltran is from Humble, Texas. He attended Atascocita high school with fellow NAPS teammate A.J. Pouncey. During 2009, as a senior, Beltran handled both the punting and kicking at Atascocita. He broke the school record for punt average when he averaged 43.5 yards per attempt. That average was the second highest in 2009 in the state of Texas. Beltran demonstrated his strong leg on kickoffs when he recorded an 83 percent success rate. Pablo made six of seven as a field goal kicker. Over his final two seasons Beltran hit 8-of-10 field goal attempts including a 47 yarder. Playing on a very good offensive team Pablo showed the ability to directional punt when he placed 21 punts inside the 20-yard line his junior year. He was's 11th rated punter in the Class of 2010. Beltran earned First Team District 19-5A as a punter and Second Team All-District as a kicker in 2009.

Beltran did a very nice job last year at NAPS. The Naval Academy Prep School is a challenging place for kickers and punters since there is no separate practice field for them to hone their craft. Pablo is a rather big player at 6-2, 200 for a punter. He is a very hard worker and puts in the time in the weight room. Beltran is potentially a good FBS punter; he produces solid hang time and distance on punts. He can directional kick and has a consistent leg. Pablo also did a good job on kickoffs at NAPS. Beltran isn't the most athletic punter in the world. He chose Navy over offers from Army, Air Force, Tulsa and Houston.

Colin Amerau was the placekicker on the Naval Academy Prep School last season. Amerau is a 6-2, 185 pound kicker from Mount Vernon, Virginia high school. His senior year Amerau earned First Team All-District recognition and All-Northern Region honorable mention. He is the son of a Navy captain and walked on at NAPS. Amerau is a steady kicker with below average leg strength for a FBS division kicker. The top end of his field goal range is in the low forties.

Another special team player from NAPS is Joe Cardona who is a long snapper from Granite Hills High School. Cardona snaps the ball consistently and cleanly. Before his senior year he was ranked in the top 12 underclassmen in the Annual National kicking and snapping high school camp which is the premier special team camp for high school players.

After Alexander Teich became the starting B-Back last season and was removed from kickoff returns, Navy wasn't as effective as earlier in the year. Last year Navy averaged 22.5 yards on 50 kickoff returns. The Mids improved to 45th in the nation during the 2010 season, up from 116th in 2009 for kickoff return yardage. While Marcus Thomas (21.7 per KOR) showed potential and speed as a plebe, the Mids have lacked a true home run threat since Reggie Campbell.

Ryan Williams might be the closest recruit in terms of ability to Campbell since he graduated. In addition to being the most talented slotback last season at the Naval Academy Prep school, Williams was the best on kickoff returns. Williams is a 5-8, 170 pound player from Pelham, Alabama. In 2009, during his senior year in high school, Williams was a tremendous return man scoring four touchdowns on kick returns. Williams, who runs a legit 4.4 forty yard dash, is roadrunner fast with electric quickness. Williams possesses instant acceleration, is explosive and decisive on returns with reliable hands. B-Backs Noah Copeland, Quinton Singleton and slotbacks Reuben Carson and Geoff Whiteside all returned kickoffs last year and may also be eventually in the mix.

This year's Navy punt returner will probably be either senior Gary Myers or sophomore Matt Aiken. While he won't compete for the starting job this year, the punt returner last year at NAPS was former high school option quarterback Chris Ferguson. Ferguson, who is 6-2 and weighs 195 pounds, has 4.49 speed in the forty yard dash and great hands. Ferguson can make the first man miss and possesses excellent quickness and instant acceleration. Geoff Whiteside also handled punt returns at NAPS but isn't as fast as Ferguson.

Navy's coverage teams were inconsistent last year. The Mids allowed 23.4 on kickoffs returns and gave up 7.6 yards per punt return. This incoming class from NAPS offers tremendous athleticism especially at defensive back that could help to eventually improve the coverage on special teams. Ryan Williams and Ruben Carson were not only starting slotbacks but also very effective outside gunners on the coverage teams. Top Stories