It's going to be difficult to imagine Navy's backfield without four-year fixture Gee Gee Greene starting at slotback. Green ended his career with 38 consecutive starts. Gee Gee had the best year of his great career in 2012. He led the Mids in rushing with 877 rushing yards, averaging 7.3 per carry and scoring three touchdowns. Greene finished second on the team in receiving (18 catches for 309 yards, 17.2 yards per catch, 2 TDs). He ended his career with 3,757 all-purpose yards which ranks him third all-time in Navy history. It is an amazing accomplishment based on the limited chances slotbacks have to carry the ball.
The biggest disappointment this year was the injury to senior slotback John Howell. The Mids missed the homerun threat after he was injured against San Jose State. Senior captain Bo Snelson started the rest of the way at slotback after Howell's injury. Snelson ran 42 times for 273 yards and averaged 6.5 per carry. Snelson lacked the run skills, instincts and hands of Howell but he did a solid job when asked to carry or catch the ball. He did an outstanding job blocking on the perimeter. With the loss of Howell the Navy coaching staff had the opportunity to inject some new players into the lineup.
Junior Darius Staten saw an increase in playing time. He ran 21 times for 184 yards, averaged 8.8 per carry and scored a touchdown. Darius is a powerfully built runner who is solid as a rock. He has worked his way up a crowded depth chart at slotback. He possesses good speed and has a low center of gravity with excellent balance. Darius's blocking has improved since his plebe year. Geoffrey Whiteside played in all 13 games and saw increased playing time from scrimmage in the second half of the year. Whiteside ran 16 times for 111 yards and averaged 6.9 yards a carry. He had four receptions including a 20-yard touchdown catch in the blowout against East Carolina. Geoff has above average speed, can block and has solid hands. Junior Marcus Thomas has been the Mids primary kick returner the last two years. Thomas (8 rushes, 59 yards, 7.4 avg., 1 TD) has good speed and runs very hard for his size.
Sophomore Ryan Williams-Jenkins is roadrunner fast and showed his explosiveness on a 33-yard touchdown run against East Carolina. He should see more time next fall. Local native Demond Brown saw time in eight games as a freshman. He carried the ball once this year for four yards. Brown was the best A-back at NAPS in 2011.
2012 Navy Report Card: Slotbacks
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