Navy Spring Review: Specialists

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 specialists.

SPECIALISTS


Punter
Starter: Pablo Beltran Sr.
Backup: Gavin Jernigan Jr.
Senior punter Pablo Beltran is entering his fourth season as Navy's punter. He has produced the third best career punting average in Navy history. Beltran is coming off a tremendous season when he averaged 41.4 yards per punt on his 40 punts with 12 placed inside the 20-yard line. Beltran earned honorable mention All-East for his play. He was also named Second-Team All-Independent on Phil Steele's team and was listed as an Honorable Mention FBS All-Independent. Beltran gives the Mids excellent field position and can boom the ball when needed. With Beltran the Mids were the top ranked team in the nation in net punting (56.0).

The backup punter is junior Gavin Jernigan. He was originally a direct admit kicker and punter from Mira Costa high school in California. In kicking combine camps he was generally rated as one of the top 2012 high school kickoff/punt combo prospects on the West Coast. At Chris Sailer's Kicking camp after his junior year in high school, Jernigan was awarded the camp's kickoff champion award. He was ranked by Sailer's camp as 26th nationally as a punter. Jernigan (6-3, 203) has a strong leg and can also push Austin Grebe for the kickoff job. He'll only be the punter if Beltran gets hurt.

Punt returner
Starter: DeBrandon Sanders Jr
Backup: Parrish Gaines Sr.
OR Brendan Dudeck Sr.
The new punt returner is expected to be junior DeBrandon Sanders. He was a returner in high school. Sanders has showed excellent quickness, speed, lateral agility and hands at slotback. He has the potential to be a dynamic punt returner. His backups are seniors Parrish Gaines and Brendan Dudeck who can provide reliable hands but a lot less explosiveness in the return game than what Sanders brings to the table.

Kickoff Returner
Starter: Demond Brown Jr.
Starter: Toneo Gulley So.
Junior kick returner Demond Brown (5-9, 201) won the nod as the leading kick returner this spring. Brown returned a few kickoffs last fall. He averaged 22.2 on five kickoff returns which including ripping off a 45-yard kickoff against South Alabama. Brown has filled out physically the last few years. He's added nearly thirty pounds to go with his 4.54 speed. 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. I expect him to be a quality kickoff returner.

Sophomore Toneo Gully was a special team's ace who appeared in ten games last fall. This year he'll get his chance to show what he can do in the return game. Gulley (5-8,196) was a highly recruited 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 after his senior year. At NAPS Gulley scored the game winning touchdown on a kickoff return off a lateral against USMAPS as time expired. Gulley is a fast, stocky runner who's build is similar to former Navy slotback Zerb Singleton. He is very strong, with balance, quickness, speed and leg drive. He is an explosive runner who can elude tacklers and make them miss in the open field.

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