Meet the New Mids: Slotbacks pt 1

GoMids.com continues its look at this year's new freshman class by position. In part one of our slotback introduction we will discuss incoming players Toneo Gulley and Tago Smith.

GoMids.com continues its look at this year's Midshipmen freshman football class by position. Navy's football staff has once again added speed and talent with the new slotback recruits. The slotback or A-back, position has been one of the most talented and deepest positions on the team the last few years. The Mids need to rebuild their depth at slotback with the graduation of Gee Gee Greene, John Howell and Bo Snelson. Ken Niumatalolo and his staff continued their trend of recruiting fast and explosive A-backs. GoMids.com will now look at the new Mid slotbacks.

Toneo Gulley (5-8,190) was one of the starters at A-back last fall for the Naval Academy Prep team. Gulley, in my opinion, was the best all-round slotback at NAPS last year. He hails from Wisconsin and played at Tremper high school. Gulley was named his conference's Offensive Player of the Year in 2011 after rushing for 1,249 yards and 21 touchdowns. He averaged over 13 yards per carry.

Gulley was a highly recruited, dynamic running back who selected the Mids over numerous offers. He was ranked as the 126th best running back in the nation according to Scout.com his senior year. Last season at NAPS he lived up to the hype as he consistently demonstrated his ability to turn the corner and make big plays. In the victory of Navy JV he ran for over 200 yards and scored two touchdowns. In the battle for the Reasoner Trophy against Army Prep he ran five times for 75 yards and scored a touchdown. Toneo caught a 33-yard pass that set up another touchdown during NAPS second half comeback win over the United States Military Academy Prep School. Gulley scored the game winning touchdown off a lateral with just three seconds left in the game. Brandon Clemens took the kickoff past midfield and just before he was tackled desperately lateraled the ball to Toneo. Gulley caught the ball off his shoe tips and turned on the jets as he avoided a tackler. He then raced past a badly outmatched Adam Bungum of USMAPS. Bungum's desperate diving tackle attempt fell way short as Gulley scored untouched with no time left to give NAPS an unbelievable comeback 42-36 win.

Gulley is a fast, stocky running back whose build is similar to former Navy slotback Zerb Singleton. He is very strong, with superior balance, quickness, speed and leg drive. He is an explosive runner who can elude tacklers and make them miss in the open field. If he stays healthy, Gulley should be in the mix early with a chance to contribute as a plebe. Gulley chose Navy over offers from nearly the entire MAC conference, Bowling Green, Ball State, Ohio, Western Michigan, Akron, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Kent State among others.



Tago Smith was a starting slotback most of the season at the Naval Academy Prep School until he was injured. Smith is a 5-foot-10 inch, 190 pound player from Fayetteville, Georgia. He was a very versatile player at Fayetteville County high school playing free safety, quarterback and wide receiver in high school. He demonstrated his speed when he scored NAPS only touchdown on a 62-yard run in a loss against powerful Nassau Community College. Smith was the fastest A-back last year at NAPS. He possesses excellent run skills, instant acceleration and vision. He was the most athletic slotback at NAPS and possesses a 35-inch vertical leap. Smith was hurt late in the year but is healthy and ready to contribute. His blocking is still a work in progress. Smith worked hard this past off season in the weight room to increase his strength. He has the ability to play early at Navy. <

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