Meet the New Mids: Linebackers pt I

GoMids.com continues its introduction of the new Navy football freshmen. In part I of our linebacker segment we discuss Daniel Gonzales, Ryan Harris. Josiah Powell and Nnamdi Uzoma.

The Navy Academy Prep school lost a number of talented linebackers due to attrition. The good news is that the NAPS defensive MVP, inside linebacker, Daniel Gonzales, made it to I-day. Even with the prep school losses this looks to be a very good group of linebackers joining the program. The incoming class of plebes has some talented linebackers who should eventually contribute. GoMids.com will now look at the new Mid linebackers.

Inside linebacker Daniel Gonzales was easily the best player on the Naval Academy prep school defense last fall. Gonzales (6-2, 220) was a defensive end at the Vail's Cienega High School in Arizona. He had a huge senior season when he recorded 109 tackles and made 6 sacks. Gonzales had a number of offers but in the end chose Navy over Army. Gonzales was named Naval Academy Prep school defensive MVP. He made a huge fourth down stop to end Bridgeton Academy's final drive to secure a win. Gonzales was the best defender on the field against tough prep powerhouse Nassau Community College as he posted 11 tackles including a sack. In the victory against the United State Military Academy Prep school he made 14 tackles, had a key sack and recovered two fumbles.

Gonzales is a very instinctive and aware inside linebacker. He reads plays well, has great range and flies to the ball. Daniel is very physical, tough and fills quickly. He is the type of linebacker who loves contact and hitting people. He was incredibly productive posting double digit tackles in every game I saw while making a lot of plays. Simply put he's a special player and the best inside linebacker I've seen in my five years of following the NAPS program. He has the chance to play early in his career for Navy.



Ryan Harris (5-11, 210) was a linebacker for Mission Viejo High School in California. He was a product of a very good high school program. Harris earned All-County honors at linebacker. Ryan posted 69 tackles, a sack and made an interception during his senior season. Harris was probably the most improved player from beginning to end last year at the Naval Academy Prep school. He started the season in a reserve role behind a deep NAPS linebacker crew. He saw more time as the season progressed. Harris was used as a striker linebacker and his active style of play is similar to former Navy outside linebacker Ram Vela. Harris isn't as fast as Vela but he did add twenty pounds in the NAPS off-season conditioning program. He has a chance to eventually get in the mix as a contributor if he continues to improve.



Josiah Powell looks to be another diamond in the rough Navy assistant coach Ashley Ingram has unearthed. Powell was a linebacker from North Hopkins high school in Kentucky. His senior season he posted 70 tackles and made one fumble recovery. Last year he opened the season as the starting Striker outside linebacker for the Naval Academy Prep school. Powell (6-3, 200) only played in the opener against Dean but his performance was memorable. He made a huge impact with seven tackles, two sacks flying off the edge and he knocked down two passes in coverage. He suffered a season ending injury in the third quarter when he broke a bone in his ankle. Josiah had surgery on his ankle and had a plate inserted which will eventually be removed. He's healthy now but missed most of the off-season workout program so he's behind his peers. He looks to me like one of the most talented athletes to arrive from NAPS unless Powell isn't healthy or was just a one game wonder. Against Dean he really exploded when he blitzed off the edge. If he is healthy, and didn't lose any speed from his injury, he has a huge upside with the potential to emerge as an impact defender. Powell chose Navy over offers from Air Force and Princeton.

Nnamdi Uzoma is the younger brother of Navy linebacker Obi Uzoma. Nnamdi played mostly defensive end at Knightdale high school in North Carolina. He offers good size at 6-3 and weighs 220 pounds. Uzoma is a good athlete with 4.68 speed and quickness. He attended the Naval Academy Prep school last fall but didn't play a down. During his physical it was uncovered that he had incurred knee damage during his high school career. The decision was made to perform surgery last year so he missed the NAPS season. He's healthy now. Uzoma definitely looks the part of an FCS outside linebacker getting off the bus. He will compete at Raider linebacker but could project to inside linebacker or even defensive end if he adds more weight.




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