Navy gets commitment from KC-area standout

Joshua Van Dunk committed to the United States Naval Academy on an official visit this past weekend to Annapolis, Mary. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound lineman had a sensational career at Lincoln Prep Academy (Kansas City, Mo.) playing for head coach Henry Newell. spoke with Newell, who has been coaching in the Kansas City area for 39 years, to get his thoughts on what Navy will be getting in Joshua Van Dunk.

"First of all, Joshua's a great character kid," Newell said. "In all of my years of coaching, Joshua has the highest character of anyone I've ever coached. He's a self-made football player who has worked extremely hard to be the player he is. He's been a natural leader for us and I think he's made a great decision with Navy. It's definitely the right school for him with his leadership ability.

"Joshua had a lot of offers to choose from, at least 20 overall. I know that schools like Missouri State, North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Northwestern Missouri State, and Missouri Western were all after him. Navy showed up last year and I told Coach (Mick) Yokitis he'd be a good fit in their program. After that they started following him and here it is today with Joshua being committed (to Navy).

"Last Friday, Joshua went to Annapolis with his Mom and Dad. He came back saying that he really enjoyed being there, loved the campus, spoke about how beautiful it is, loved all of the coaches, especially the head coach. They hit it off from the get-go. Coach Niumatalolo is a very religious man and Joshua is that way too. He also spent a lot of time with their really good quarterback and super impressed with him. Joshua is someone who likes to have structure and is about academics for him. He loves football, but knows the classroom is the path to successful future and wants to go to (USNA) to study engineering.

A four-year starter at Lincoln Prep Academy, Van Dunk was an All-Conference selection as a freshman. Other accolades include three-time first team All-Distinct (offensive and defense) as a sophomore, junior and senior. In 2014 as senior, he was All-Conference for offense and defensive, All-State (offensive line), and Defensive Player of the Year in the conference. Newell believes Van Dunk has the potential at several positions to shoot up the Midshipmen depth chart.

"Coach Yokitis has told Van Dunk they'd like to start him out on offense," said Newell. "Now he could end up at defensive end and I think would be a very good. We run a Wing-T offense which is very similar to what Navy does and Joshua is an outstanding pulling guard in our offense. I think he's one of the best I've ever coached and I've coached some good ones. I coached Donald Stevenson whi is currently playing for the Kansas Chiefs and Joshua is just as good as he was at this particular stage in their playing career if not better.

"There are so many things Joshua can do well. He's the best long snapper I ever had, the can kick the ball to the back of the endzone and we used him sometimes on kickoffs to do just that, and I think he could be a pretty good tight end because of his hands. The biggest thing, though, that will serve him well at Navy is his character. I've coached 15 players who ended up in the NFL and they were all high character guys but nothing like Joshua." Top Stories