Navy 2014 Football Review: Slotbacks

GoMids.com offers our review of the Navy 2014 football season. GoMids.com’s Jim Lawler discusses each position of the team and assigns a final grade. In this segment we discuss the slotbacks.

SLOTBACKS: B+

At times it looks like the Navy staff created a mold of former Navy slotback Reggie Campbell and has since mass produced Navy slotbacks in the same image. They are all short and very fast. The slotback depth was tested with a number of A-backs missing time with injuries in 2014 while seeing little drop in performance due to Ken Niumatalolo and his staff’s excellent recruiting.

Senior Geoffrey Whiteside isn't as fast as some of his slotback teammates but he was the most versatile with above average speed, good hands and he can block. He' missed one game all year and led the slotbacks in rushing with 365 yards, a 7.6 average and three touchdowns. He finished the season with seven catches for 88 yards and a 12.6 average.

Junior DeBrandon Sanders (231 rushing yards, 8.0 avg., 3 TDs) was hurt early against Texas State and missed most of that contest and the following game against Rutgers. He showed his explosive speed on the edge when he somehow outraced what seemed like half the Ohio State defense to the pylon in the opener. Sanders’ only fumble this year, which he recovered, against Ohio State, killed the momentum of a long drive that forced Navy to settle for a field goal. Sanders wasn't been used as much in the passing game with two receptions but one against Air Force was a 40-yard touchdown catch.

Hard luck senior Ryan Williams-Jenkins (42 att., 322 yards, 7.7) battled injuries his entire career. He was leading the slotbacks in rushing when he had his cheek fractured against Western Kentucky during a kickoff return. He returned to play and saw action in ten games. He made five catches for 96 yards including a 42-yard reception on a wheel route against Notre Dame to set up a field goal. Williams-Jenkins endured a number of serious injuries during his career but showed incredible toughness and had a nice final season.

Super-fast Dishan Romine (123 yards, 9.5 avg.) missed four games in an injury plagued season. He is the fastest of the slotbacks and had a 47-yard run against VMI. He played in nine games but injuries cost him to miss the bowl game and the start of the season. Junior Demond Brown (113 yards, 7.5 avg., TD) also battled nagging injuries that caused him to miss three games. He drew two starts and his 18-yard touchdown run off a pitch started the Navy comeback against Notre Dame. He is a good all round player who can run, block and catch.

Special teams star Toneo Gulley (77 yards, 7.0 avg., TD) showed why he was so highly recruited on a 19-yard touchdown run against Western Kentucky. Calvin Cass Jr. (50 yards, 5.0 avg.) started the spring at receiver before being moved back to slotback. He has played well when called upon. The depth here is impressive and the blocking of the A-back was very good.

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