Navy loses Danny Ring

The Navy Midshipmen defense took a hit when it was announced starting nose guard Danny Ring has left the Academy. Navy beat writer Bill Wagner, from the Capital Gazette.com, broke the news June 11. Wagner confirmed with Scott Strasemeier, Navy's associate athletic director for sports information, that Ring left the Naval Academy and plans to transfer.

The Navy Midshipmen defense took a hit when it was announced starting nose guard Danny Ring has left the Academy. Navy beat writer Bill Wagner, from the Capital Gazette.com, broke the news June 11. Wagner confirmed with Scott Strasemeier, Navy's associate athletic director for sports information, that Ring left the Naval Academy and plans to transfer.

He declined to sign his "2-for-7" commitment to finish his final two years at the academy and then serve in the Navy an additional five years on active duty.

Danny Ring played in 13 games and started three games including the final two games of his sophomore year. Ring rang up 17 tackles, two for a loss and made a sack. Ring was versatile with the ability to handle the nose guard position while being quick enough off the snap to play defensive end. Last year he made the defensive coaches notice him against Texas State when he penetrated into the backfield and made two key stops. In the regular season finale against Army, Ring outplayed Army's Remington watch list center Ryan Powis and right guard Stephen Shumaker who earned second team All Independent honors from Phil Steele. Army's talented offensive line, which produced a school record 4,438 rushing yards, had difficulty handling Ring quickness until he left the game with an ankle injury. He was listed as the starting nose tackle on the depth chart at the end of spring practice.

Ring was a direct admit from Florida. He played defensive end, tight end and long snapper for Cardinal Gibbons high school. Ring had a tremendous senior season when he made 73 tackles, including 17 for a loss and posted 12 1/2 sacks. Ring was named second team 2A All-State on the defensive line. He chose Navy over offers from Air Force, Penn, Brown and Columbia and Lehigh.

The good news for the Mids is that, unlike their service academy rivals, they have excellent depth at the nose tackle position. New starter Bernie Sarra appeared in eight games and made six tackles last year as a plebe. Sarra won the Vice Admiral William P. Mack Award as the most improved player during spring practice in the opinion of the coaching staff.

"Bernie Sarra had a great spring and the voting was near unanimous for the award," said Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo. "He really worked hard in the off season and dropped the excess weight he was carrying and that hard work really paid off because he was a different football player in the spring. Bernie is going to be a key player for us this fall." Sarra is very strong and has benched pressed well over 400 pounds. He offers a wide body frame and has the ability to slide off a block and fill a gap. Bernie doesn't provide much as a pass rusher but he can definitely hold up against the run.

Senior Barry Dabney will compete for the backup spot. Last fall Dabney played in every game and started ten. Dabney (21 tackles) is a big body often doesn't get off blocks or get much push off the line to make any negative plays. During the break leading up to the Army game he was bypassed on the depth chart by Ring and Sarra. Dabney ended up the hero against Army when he was inserted in the lineup on the final drive and recovered Army's fumble to preserve the Mid's victory. Listed on the depth chart in a battle for the backup spot is senior Travis Bridges. He started his career on the offensive line before being moved to nose guard last year. Bridges is a 6-0, 318 pound lineman who runs a 4.98 forty. Travis is powerful, has good body control and balance. Navy has three juniors in former NAPS MVP Brice Musgrove (5-11, 290), A.J. Barnaby (6-1, 283) and Vin Rider (6-4, 273) who are buried on the Navy depth chart but probably could compete for starting jobs at the two other service academies.

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