Navy Spring Review: Slotbacks

The Navy Midshipmen recently completed their 2014 spring practice drills. GoMids.com will now review every position, listing the starter, backup and third string players. In this edition we look at the slotbacks.

SLOTBACKS

Starters: Geoffrey Whiteside Sr. DeBrandon Sanders Jr
Backups: Ed Royds Jr. Demond Brown Jr.
Third String: Ryan Williams-Jenkins Sr. Dishan Romine So. OR Third String Toneo Gulley So.
Navy has terrific depth at A-back. It may be the deepest position on the team. Starting senior slotback Geoffrey Whiteside returns. In 2013 he played in ten games and started seven. The versatile Whiteside (363 rushing yards, 7.4 avg., 3 TDs) did miss three games with an injured ankle. He also helped in the passing game and had a 26-yard touchdown reception against Hawaii. Geoffrey has above average speed, can block and has solid hands. He is not as fast as some other slotbacks but he is a tough, physical runner and blocker. DeBrandon Sanders will start opposite Whiteside. The small but very fast junior has a breakout season last year. Sanders (340 rushing yards, 8.1 avg., TD) was a dual threat. Sanders can really motor and get to the edge. He put the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl out of reach with his career long 41-yard touchdown run. DeBrandon led the Mids with 13 receptions for 223 receiving yards, a 17.2 average and a touchdown last year.

Backup Ed Royds (5-11, 196) is a junior who has played on the JV team the last two years. Royds is an very talented athlete. He was an All-County baseball center fielder and was considered one of the fastest players in South Jersey his senior year in high school. Royds can run, block and catch. He's overcome a season ending injury he suffered at NAPS in 2011. Royds has big play speed and is a solid all round player.

Sophomore Demond Brown emerged last fall as another all round player who can run, block and catch. Brown's (220 yards, 9.6 avg., TD) 38- yard touchdown run gave the Mids a lead over Air Force they never relinquished. Demond has nice run skills and very quick feet. He can cut, juke and accelerate. He usually makes the first man miss and finishes his runs. He does a really nice job cut blocking on the perimeter. Brown, as GoMids.com discussed during our I-day report, has become an impact contributor. Senior Ryan Williams-Jenkins (2 att., 9 yards in 2013) made an impressive recovery from knee surgery to get back on the field last year after being injured during the previous spring. However, he didn't seem completely healthy last fall. Before his injury he was an exciting, elusive runner with instant acceleration. Williams is small but not tiny or frail. He is surprisingly strong and well-built for his size.

Newcomer Dishan Romine (5-11, 185) is an impressive looking direct admit slotback from Louisville, Kentucky. Last season he played for Navy JV. As a senior in high school he ran for 1,542 yards, averaged 6.8 yards per carry, and scored 15 touchdowns in ten games. Romine possesses good speed.

Toneo Gulley (5-8, 196) is also pushing for playing time at the slotback rotation. Gulley was a special team coverage star last year as a plebe. 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. In 2012 at NAPS he lived up to the hype as he consistently demonstrated his ability to turn the corner and make big plays. Gulley is a fast, stocky running back who is build is similar to former Navy slotback Zerb Singleton.

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