GoMids.com now turns to the defense in its review of this year's incoming freshman class by position. The Naval Academy Prep School defensive line suffered some attrition this past year. The most highly regarded recruit is probably a direct admit. Ken Niumatalolo's staff has done a nice job recruiting size and talent on the defensive line the last few years. GoMids.com will now take a look at the new Midshipmen defensive linemen.
Austin Kurke (6-5, 235) is a direct admit from El Segundo high school in California. He was widely recruited as both a tight end and a defensive end. As a senior, the tight end caught 24 passes for 304 receiving yards, a 12.7 average and a touchdown. Kurke was a good tight end but he's an exceptional defensive end. As a senior defensive end he made 92 tackles and posted 10 sacks. Kurke was named All CIF and All Area in both his junior and senior seasons. Austin was voted 2011 Defensive Player of the year. Kurke also earned all league honors as a tight end.
It's easily to see why Austin Kurke drew so many offers. As a left defensive end he is quick off the ball with a terrific up the field burst. He has a confirmed combined time of 4.88 speed in the forty yard dash. He excels at rushing from the edge. Kurke can shed blocks, shoot gaps and can run down plays from the backside. Kurke is a great competitor and held up well against the run. Navy offered Kurke early then gained and held his commitment despite an onslaught of offers from Arizona State, Cal, Utah, Hawaii, Army, Air Force, UC Davis and South Dakota State. He has the talent to eventually emerge as an impact defender.
Another talented direct admit is Carter Shipley. He was a standout offensive left guard and defensive nose tackle at Orlando's Lake Highland Prep in Florida. Shipley (6-3, 255) is an accomplished Olympic-style wrestler in both free-style and Greco-Roman. He was a gold and silver medalist as a U.S. team member in Venezuela.
The Navy staff liked Shipley's strength and athleticism. The staff plans to try him initially at defensive end. He has good first step, plays with leverage and uses his hands well. Shipley is a physical competitor and plays hard. He plans to focus on football only but may wrestle down the line at Navy. He chose the Midshipmen over offers from Air Force, Middle Tennessee State and Dartmouth.
Camaran Henson (6-3, 250) played defensive end last season at the Naval Academy Prep School. He was a two-way lineman at Brookwood high school in Georgia. Henson started the first three NAPS games last year before suffering a concussion that ended his season. He was an under the radar recruit but did a nice job in limited playing time he saw. Henson is very aggressive, physical and tough. He did a real nice good of playing with leverage in taking on double team blocks. Henson should really benefit from Mike Brass's strength and conditioning program. If he can become a little leaner, quicker and develop his core strength he can potentially emerge as factor in a few years.
Meet the New Mids: Defensive Line pt I
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