Meet the New Mids: Slotbacks

GoMids.com continues its look at this year’s Midshipmen freshman football class by position. There was a recruiting feast and famine story when you look at the respective A and B-backs in the new Midshipmen class. GoMids.com will now look at the new Mid slotbacks.

The Navy football staff has once again added speed, depth and talent with the new slotback recruits. It was a very nice group. The slotback, or A-Back position, has been the deepest positions on the team the last few years. Fullback, or B-back was absolutely barren this year as none of the B-backs who attended the Naval Academy Prep School last fall made it to I-day. There were no direct admit fullbacks either in this class. Fortunately fullback is currently a deep position on the roster.

With the depth at slotback the NAPS staff rotated multiple A-backs last year. The best of the slotbacks was Darryl Bonner. Bonner (5-7, 165) was named offensive MVP at the Naval Academy Prep School last fall. Bonner played at Terry Sanford high school in North Carolina. As a senior Bonner played quarterback in a spread attack and carried the ball 153 times for 627 yards, averaged 4.1 yard per carry and scored eight touchdowns. Bonner served as team captain. He was twice named to the All-Conference team. He was named Mid South Conference athlete of the year after his senior season.

Bonner was the most productive and consistent big play threat slotback for NAPS last year. He seemed to rip off a big run or make a play whenever the team needed it. He showed his game changing ability right away with two first half touchdown runs in the opening day victory over Lackawanna JC. Bonner is an exciting and electric runner. He possesses an exceptional burst of speed through a running hole and is shifty and elusive He can juke and elude defenders. Bonner impressed me with both his blocking and his hands despite his diminutive frame. He was easily the fastest of all the slotbacks who played last year at NAPS.

Bonner Highlights

John Brown III is a 5-9, 180 pound slotback who played last fall for the Naval Academy Prep School. He had played running back and defensive back for CE Jordan high school in North Carolina. He was a three year starter in high school. Brown ran for 860 yards and scored eight touchdowns during his senior season. He added another 430 return yards and had one kickoff returned for a score. He earned All-Conference honors his senior season.

Brown scored the game winning touchdown in the NAPS opener against Lackawanna College. He caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Travis Marshall with 39 seconds remaining in the game to give NAPS a 31-28 victory. He had set up that touchdown with a 44-yard fourth down reception on the same drive to keep NAPS hopes alive. In the victory over Bridgeton he caught a touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone. Brown did everything well at NAPS. He is a solid all round slotback who has good speed, possesses above average hands and is a good blocker. Brown is a strong runner with a rather deceptive running stride. He runs faster than he seems from the stands as he can pull away from defenders. He has been timed at 4.55 in the forty yard dash.



Christopher High (6-0, 185) was used as both a slotback and later in the year as a fullback when attrition hit the NAPS offense. High is from Oklahoma where he played both running back and linebacker at Douglass high school. He rushed 132 times for over 1,700 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. High was named MVP of the 4A classification and first team All-State at running back.

High bounced back between A-back and B-back last season. He ripped off a touchdown run against Gattaca. In the battle for the Reasoner Trophy against Army prep he added a twelve yard touchdown run. High offers nice speed and strength. He is a well built, physical, bruising runner. High is still very raw and lacks overall run skills. He possesses pretty good speed but he is a straight line runner without much lateral moves or elusiveness. He needs to work on his cut blocking. He has a lot of ability but just needs some time and coaching to put it all together. If he adds some weight then he has the leg strength, in my opinion, to be moved full time to fullback. High selected Navy over offers from Missouri State, Morgan State, and Central Oklahoma.

High Highlights

Josh Walker was part of the slotback rotation at Naval Academy Prep School last season. Walker (5-11, 190) is from Austin high school in Alabama. As a senior he ran for 1.206 yards and 18 touchdowns on 167 carries while helping lead Austin to a Class 6A playoff berth. He also caught 44 passes for 491 receiving yards and three scores. He was a first-team selection on the All-Area football team in Alabama and was an All-State honorable mention selection.

Walker ripped off a number of nice run at NAPS. He took a hand-off 60 yards down the right sideline to set up the opening touchdown in the blowout victory over Army prep. Walker has above average speed, quick feet and good hands. Walker can plant his foot and go. He is explosive at times and has the ability to break into the open field but he lacks an elite top end gear. He runs hard and finishes his runs. His blocking needs to improve. Josh can catch the ball and help in the passing game. He chose Navy over an offer from Troy.

Walker Highlights

Justin Artis (6-1, 195) attended the Naval Academy Prep School but didn't play. Artis was a dominant running back at Anahuac high school in Texas. He carried the ball 136 times for 1,461 yards, averaged 10.8 yards per carry, and scored 15 touchdowns during his senior year in 2012. Artis had injured his knee in high school and spent last year rehabilitating the injury. If healthy he has the chance to develop into a quality player at slotback. Artis offers rare size and speed for a Navy A-back. If fully recovered he can offer size, speed and acceleration. Justin is a very strong and athletic player. He worked hard in the weight room last year and should be ready this fall.



Nick Theos (5-7, 180) attended the Naval Academy Prep School last fall but broke his collarbone during preseason and didn't appear in any games. In practice he looked to be a very quick and elusive runner who broke a number of long runs before he was hurt. Theos played wing-back at Bishop England high school in South Carolina. He was injured most of his senior year but threw a 62-yard TD pass in the championship game. Theos has missed significant time the last of the two years so his durability is a concern.

Theos Highlights

Ken Niumatalolo and his staff added two talented direct admits in this class. Jahmaal Daniel is a 5-6, 160 pound direct admit slotback from Terry Sanford high school in North Carolina. He fits the Navy A-back prototype of being small but fast. Daniel's speed seems to be at another level after reviewing his tape. Daniel was the fastest high school football player in North Carolina last year. As a track star he won consecutive 100-meter state championships. He won the state's 200-meter title and was the 55-meter champion as well. Daniel rushed for 1,594 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. He was named to the Cape Fear Valley 3-A Conference first team. He produced over 2,000 total yards of total offense last year. Daniel, as one can see from his track success, has explosive speed with a 10.48 time in the 100 meters dash. He is roadrunner fast with electric quickness. He possesses instant acceleration, cutting ability and is very elusive. He has a chance to contribute early. If Daniel is even with another player the chances are he's leaving them in the dust.

Daniel Highlights

Josh Brown (5-9, 180) is another fast, exciting direct admit runner from Brookwood high school in Georgia. He played both running back and cornerback in high school. As a junior he ran for 600 yards as a reserve behind a number of FBS recruits. As a defensive back he had an interception that he returned for a touchdown. Brown' s senior year ended in the season opener with an knee injury. Before the injury he had 4.49 speed. If Brown is healthy he offers run vision, excellent quickness and very good speed. He runs with a low pad level and finishes his runs. Brown has run an 11.0 flat 100 meter dash. He chose Navy over offers from Arizona, Middle Tennessee State, Buffalo, Harvard, Furman and Georgia State.



Next: A look at the new Mid wide receivers.

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