Navy Spring Review: Left Defensive End

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 left defensive ends.

Head coach Ken Niumatalolo returns seven starters on defense but has to fill the graduation losses at inside linebacker and rover. Defensive coordinator Buddy Green has good depth to choose from at almost all positions due to the Midshipmen's excellent recruiting the past few years. The Mids have 24 lettermen returning on defense. Last year the Navy defense held eight of its 13 opponents below their scoring averages for the season.

GoMids.com will look at the post spring practice depth chart. We'll review the defensive starters, backups and third string players. The class year listed represents the year the player will be in this fall. We will not discuss in detail the names of any Naval Academy Prep players that could impact the depth chart until after I-day.

LEFT DEFENSIVE END

Starter: Paul Quessenberry Sr.
Back up: AK Akpunka Jr.
Third String:
Amos Mason So.
Senior Paul Quessenberry (6-2, 251) is a returning starter at defensive end. Last year he led the Navy defensive linemen in tackles for a loss. Overall he made 25 tackles, 3 TFL, a sack, and was credited with five quarterback hurries. Paul played in twelve games but missed the bowl game after being suspended. He didn't make many sacks but he can be disruptive and does get up-field quickly. Quessenberry had a productive year and should be able to build off it. He hasn't developed into the type of pass rusher I thought he would be when joining the Navy program on I-day but he is a solid player.

Junior AK Akpunku moved up the depth chart to become the backup this spring. He was used as an outside linebacker as a plebe and appeared in nine games. Last year he was moved to defensive end and appeared in three games. I saw Akpunku play outside linebacker at the Naval Academy Prep School and was impressed. Akpunku (6-3, 238) is a terrific athlete. He looks the part of a Division I player even if he's undersized for the defensive line. AK has excellent speed, is strong and has a non-stop motor. Akpunku has a burst to the ball, is able to pressure the quarterback and can deliver a big hit.

Amos Mason is a 6-1, 250 pound defensive end who was a direct admit player this past season from Brentwood Academy in Tennessee. Mason is a sophomore who originally projected to inside linebacker for the Midshipmen. He played on the JV team last year and was moved up to defensive end. Mason is very athletic and won three straight state wrestling championships. Amos set the Tennessee state record for the most consecutive wrestling wins with 133. Mason is strong, physical and can move but is green as the turf at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

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