Meet the New Mids: Defensive Backs

Navy saw a total of 12 new defensive backs join the program on I-Day. The Naval Academy Prep School provided seven defensive backs. It was a good group with plenty of ability. The Mids added another five direct admits to make this one of the deepest defensive backfield recruiting classes in recent memory. will now look at these new Mid defensive backs.

Devin Harris (5-10, 170) was a starting cornerback at the Naval Academy Prep School last fall. Harris played for Arlington high school in Texas. His senior season he had 32 tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, made an interception and knocked down four passes. As a junior he picked off seven passes. Harris was an impressive corner cornerback at NAPS. He was one of the only Navy defensive players who played well early in the year in the blowout loss against No. 11 ranked Nassau Community College. He made nine tackles. Devin helped shutdown the Bridgeton Academy passing game with tight man coverage. Harris picked off a pass against the United States Military Academy Prep School.

Harris possessed the best pure cover skills of any of the cornerback at NAPS. He is quick and fluid out of his backpedal and possesses 4.52 speed with a 38" vertical leap. Harris can accelerate and change direction quickly. He has the man on man cover skills, speed and hips to play cornerback at the FBS level. He can mirror receivers while still reading the quarterback and tracking the ball in the air. He has very quick feet and a nice burst out of his backpedal. Harris just needs to get stronger and add some muscle but he should eventually push for playing time at Navy. Devin chose Navy over Rice, Tulsa, Louisiana Tech and North Texas.

Elijah Merchant (5-10, 180) was a safety last season at the Naval Academy Prep School. Merchant is a familiar last name to most Navy fans. His brother Emmett Merchant was an outstanding safety for the Midshipmen (2008-2010) before a concussion ended his career during his senior season. Elijah was both a running back and safety at Atascocita high school in Texas. He posted 53 tackles his senior year. Elijah excelled at safety last fall at NAPS. He looked like a natural at the position despite being used more as a running back than on defense in high school. He reads plays and reacts very well. He has a real feel for the game. Merchant has fine anticipation, can see a play developing and makes the play. He is a good athlete who runs and leaps well. He has high jumped 6-10” as a track athlete. I believe he may have been the best defensive back at NAPS to make it to I-day. His brother Emmett was a very good player and with Elijah the football talent runs in the family. He has the talent to develop into a very productive player at Navy. Merchant chose the Mids over offers from Army, San Jose State and Tulsa

Merchant Highlights

Alex Duncan is a 5-10, 185 pound cornerback who started last year at the Naval Academy Prep School. He is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Duncan was named National Underclassmen Combine MVP defensive back before his senior year. He was a four year starter and twice earned All-State honors. Duncan stayed loyal to his commitment to Navy despite late interest from the ACC.

Duncan was a very solid player at NAPS. He had an interception in the finale against Army prep. Alex is very technically sound, smart and disciplined player. Duncan has above average straight line speed but lacks quickness in man coverage. He doesn't have a quick burst out of his backpedal to handle some of the faster receivers he faced. Alex isn't very big. Duncan needs to spend time in the weight room to improve his strength and quickness to become a factor down the road.

Duncan Highlights

Dexter Bell (6-3, 193) played Rover last year at the Naval Academy Prep School. He is from Imperial high school in California. Bell was named First team all-league defensive back after picking off three passes his senior season. He was also a four year varsity basketball starter. Bell played well last year at NAPS. He has a very nice interception in NAPS blowout 48-11 victory over Army prep.

Bell is a tall, athletic safety with long arms. He is alert and aware. Bell reads and recognizes what the opposing offense is trying to run. He does a nice job of putting himself in the position to make plays. He may not possess the top end speed to cover the deep middle at safety against top flight FBS competition. Bell is a bit of a Navy tweener between safety and striker linebacker. With his height and speed his best position may be striker linebacker. Bell will probably need at least a year to mature and get stronger to get in the mix.

Justin Norton (6-2, 185) played safety last year at the Naval Academy Prep School. Norton was an undersized linebacker for Skyline high school in Texas. He earned first team 9-5A All-district honors his senior season. Norton really impressed me with his play last fall at NAPS. He laid the lumber with some big hits in the Bryant and Regatta Academy games. He had one of the five interceptions against Army prep in the finale.

Norton is tall safety with good size, speed and range. At his best he reminded me of former Navy safety Wyatt Middleton. I'm not saying he is that talented but he is a physical, tough player who plays bigger than his listed weight. He does an excellent job in run support. I believe he has the chance to develop into a quality starter.

Norton Highlights

Jerry Thompson played last season in the safety rotation at the Naval Academy Prep school. He had been a Wing- T quarterback and a safety at White Station high school in Tennessee. He was a first team All-Region selection at safety. The six-foot, 180 pound Thompson was recruited as a quarterback but was moved full time to defense at Newport. Thompson is a very good athlete. He had one of his best games in the opener against Lackawanna College when he made a couple of nice hits. He broke up a pass with a nice effort in the Gattica Academy game. Thompson did an excellent job on the NAPS special team coverage units all season.

Last fall it was obvious that Thompson is a talented athlete but an inexperienced defensive back. Physically he has the ideal skill set for a Navy safety but he just needs to get a better understanding of Navy's defensive scheme. Thompson is fast, fluid and can be an explosive hitter. His techniques and fundamentals were at times inconsistent. He just needs more repetitions as a safety and additional experience in the Navy defense. He could contribute early on special teams. Thompson just needs to put it all together because the athletic ability is there.

Thompson Highlights

Abdul-Malik Majeed (5-9, 185) was at the Naval Academy Prep School last fall. Majeed attended the Hun school in Princeton, New Jersey after transferring from Roman Catholic High in Philadelphia. He wanted to increase his exposure to football recruiters. He drew Navy's attention with his ability as a cornerback and running back in 2012. Majeed was a very productive player who lacked the top end speed so he failed to garner any other BCS offers. Abdul's other offer was from Maine. Majeed entered NAPS last fall after recovering from knee surgery. He missed time and when he played he lacked the quickness he showed on his high school tape. Majeed is a very strong and physical player. He played hurt last season so it’s difficult to gauge his ability. Hopefully he'll run better this fall after one year removed from rehabilitating his knee.

Majeed Highlights

Ken Niumatalolo and his staff added another five direct admit defensive backs on I-day.

Randy Beggs (6-0, 185) is a three-star direct admit safety recruit from Vista Murrieta in California. He is a dynamic playmaker and always around the football. He plays with a reckless abandon and flies around hitting everything that moves. Beggs made 125 tackles, three interceptions and two sacks last fall. He chose the Mids over Air Force, Army, New Mexico State, Montana State, Cal Poly, Princeton, Yale and Pennsylvania.

Beggs Highlights

Conrey Meagher (5-10, 191) is a plebe All-State safety at Oxford high school in Mississippi. He was a three-team athlete who participated on the track team and power-lifting team at Oxford high school. In addition to safety he also played running back and wide receiver on offense. Meagher's father Patrick played football at Navy. He has the position flexibility to help at safety or wide receiver.

Meagher Highlights

George Schultz (5-10, 170) is a direct admit cornerback from Coral Reef high school in Florida. His coach was current Navy cornerback Brandon Clements father. Schultz was an award winner at the NUC sports combine when he was timed at 4.62 in the forty yard dash and has a vertical leap of 30 inches. Schultz is expected to play safety at Navy. He'll need to spend some time in the weight room to add weight.

Schultz Highlights

Isaac Wright (5-10, 168) is a defensive back from Ashbrook high school in North Carolina. Wright was a four-year starter who played cornerback before moving to safety his senior season. He posted 72 tackles while intercepting two passes and breaking up another seven passes. Wright returned an interception for touchdown and was also a threat on special teams as he scored a pair of touchdowns on kickoff returns. Wright earned all-conference honors at defensive back and was named first-team All-Gazette at kick returner. He'll compete at cornerback for the Midshipmen but like most plebes he'll need to get stronger first to move up the depth chart.

Wright Highlights

James Munson (5-8, 160) from Tottenville high school in Staten Island New York had wanted to be a Midshipmen since Buddy Green recruited his cousin Kenny years ago. The then ten-year old Munson asked Green when he would come back and recruit him. Munson regularly attend the Navy summer camps. He played both receiver and safety. As a senior Munson caught 27 passes for 465 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 17.2 yards per catch. He was a two-time Advance All Star and winner of the Al Fabbri Award as Staten Island’s outstanding high school football player for the 2013 season.

Munson Highlights

Next: Meet the new Mids special teams Top Stories