Navy Spring Review: Quarterbacks

Navy recently completed its spring drills. GoMids.com’s Jim Lawler will now review every Midshipmen position and name a starter, a backup and a third string player to watch. In this segment he reviews the quarterbacks.

Navy football enters a new era this fall as it leaves independent status to join the American Athletic Conference. Navy had a quiet spring camp. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo conducted less practices than the NCAA allows. For the third straight year they did not hold a Blue-Gold spring game. Niumatalolo feels it's not worth the risk to possibly lose a player in the spring game. The Mids return four starters on offense including record setting quarterback Keenan Reynolds for the final season of his brilliant career. Most of the new skill position starters on the two deep depth chart are experienced and have seen plenty of playing time last year. The success of the rebuilt offensive line, featuring three new starters, will be paramount to Navy's effectiveness running its spread triple option offense. GoMids.com will review the post spring practice depth chart. The class year mentioned represents the player's year this fall.

QUARTERBACK
Starter: Keenan Reynolds Sr.
Back up: Tago Smith Jr.
Third String: Will Worth Jr.
Reynolds won five of his last six starts including a personal career high 277 rushing yards against Georgia Southern. For the season he posted 1,191 rushing yards, a career high 4.8 rushing average and 23 touchdowns. His 64 career rushing touchdowns are already the most by a quarterback in NCAA history.

Reynolds strong finish enabled him to be named FBS Independent Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Reynolds was all FBS Independent, All East and you might as well add All-World.

Backup quarterback junior Tago Smith was injured this spring and missed time. He'll be ready this fall. Smith was converted from a NAPS slotback to quarterback as a plebe. Last fall he won both his starts and scored three times. Smith averaged 3.8 yards a carry. His rushing average would have been much better except for lost yardage due to sacks and having a 70-yard touchdown run against VMI called back. Smith possesses excellent run skills, instant acceleration and run vision. Tago's passing accuracy last year was a surprise since he didn't throw the ball at all in 2013 and wasn't a fulltime quarterback in high school. Smith completed 10-of-14 passes (71.4%) for 215 passing yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Some wondered why Ken Niumatalolo didn't turn to Smith during the three game losing streak when Reynolds was hurt and struggling but Smith was hurt in the win over Texas State and out himself. Smith deserves credit for keeping Navy's bowl hopes alive last year by winning both of his starts. The only concern with Smith may be his durability since he was dinged up last fall and missed time with an injury this spring. Tago already has shown he can move the team and win.

Junior quarterback Will Worth (6-1”, 205) took advantage of his extra reps this spring due to the injury to Smith and the fact Keenan Reynolds was treated like Ken Niumatalolo's favorite family china. Worth played well and was named the winner of the Vice Admiral William P. Mack Award which is presented to the most improved player during spring football as voted on by the coaching staff. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo said, “Will had a great spring and really took advantage of the opportunity he was given after Tago Smith went down with an injury. He is very similar in style to (former Navy QBs) Aaron Polanco and Brian Hampton, a very strong runner that knows the offense and can get the ball to the right person and can throw the ball as well." Worth was a four year QB starter and a standout linebacker at Newsome high school in Florida. He's a very good athlete with good speed and a strong arm. Worth is the younger brother of former Navy linebacker Joe Worth.

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