Navy and Army after Daphne lineman

Former Daphne players can be found in the starting lineups at Alabama (T.J. Yeldon), South Florida (Eric Lee), and Vanderbilt (Torren McGaster). The current roster at the high school, located on the eastern shoreline of Alabama's Mobile Bay, has six players with D-1 offers. Navy was the first to offer Khalil Yelding, a 6-foot-1, 290-pound nose guard, but now Army is making strong overtures.

"Coach Keith Jones (of Navy) saw me during spring football," Yelding told GoMids.com. "We talked for about 30 minutes and he said that they loved my highlight film and that he came to see me play in person and that he was equally impressed with what he saw. He told me he'd be in touch. I wasn't sure that the (Navy) offer was ever going to come but then it did during the summertime. I was so happy when it did. I know a lot about Navy and what the program has accomplished under Coach Niumatalolo with their run of consecutive bowl games. It's not just the football I'm considering with Navy but also the educational opportunities and the opportunities after college.

"My other offer came from Tuskegee. It was last Tuesday when I heard from Coach Seward from Army. He told me about the defensive they run and thought I'd be a big presence inside with my skill set. He said they really loved my style of play in how aggressive I am and my quickness off the line of scrimmage.

"Both academies are great options to have. I'm planning on taking a visit to Navy in November, probably early November. Army, if they do offer, I'll set something up there as well. I have taken an unofficial visit to Tuskegee and to UAB, who was recruiting me a little as well, but Annapolis is next on my list. I'm excited about it. I've been watching replays of Navy games and looking at some things their doing up front with the defensive line. I was looking at military service anyway as an option if football didn't work out for me, but maybe this is a way to do both. We'll see."

Daphne won a state championship in 2010 when the tandem of Yeldon, Lee, and McGaster were juniors. They haven't matched that team's success but this year's group led by Yelding and running T.J. Reed, who has been offered by Army, have the Trojans at 6-3 and on the verge of a playoff berth.

"When we were defending our state championship in 2011, I played in the first round of the playoffs as a freshman," Yelding stated. "I've been starting ever since. I doing well in my pass rush this season more than anything. This summer I worked on drills trying to improve my lateral movement. The work's paid off and I'm getting into the backfield more and more this season and causing trouble for the quarterback.

"We only have one regular season game left before we start the playoffs. That's my focus. I'm kind of having to juggle recruiting with football, but after the season I'll be able to do more as far as visits. I'm looking at everything with the program, but first is education. I'm hoping to go somewhere with early playing time. It's not that I need to be a starter right away, but I want the chance to play and not have to spend a season as a redshirt. I just want to have that opportunity to show what I can do on the field. As far as location goes, that doesn't matter as long as I feel like I'm heading to the right place."

Yelding's father played basketball at Alabama State and he is the cousin of former NFL star and Daphne product, Pat White. After the season, Yelding plans to play baseball where he'd developing a reputation as a long ball slugger.

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