Navy Spring Review: Defensive End

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. Moving on to the defense, in this segment he reviews defensive ends (left).

Head coach Ken Niumatalolo returns six starters on defense from last season's Poinsettia Bowl winning team. Navy has a total of 21 returning letterman on defense but has to fill the graduation losses of three linebackers and free safety captain Parrish Gaines. Defensive coordinator Buddy Green has good depth to choose from at almost all positions due to the Midshipmen's excellent recruiting the past few years. GoMids.com will look at the post spring practice depth chart. We'll review the defensive starters, backups and third string players. The class year listed represents the year the player will be in this fall.

LEFT DEFENSIVE END
Starter: William Anthony Sr.
Backup: Amos Mason Jr.
Third String: Michael Raiford So.

Senior Will Anthony (6-1', 246) started all 13 games at defensive end last season. Anthony had a breakout junior season as he led the Mid defensive line with 67 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 2 1/2 sacks and four quarterback hurries. The defensive end earned First-Team FBS All-Independent honors, All-Independent by Phil Steele and received All-East recognition. Will has impressed me since I first saw him at NAPS in 2011. Anthony isn't very big but is strong as an ox. He uses his hands well to disengage from blockers. William has good speed and a non-stop motor. He had a monster game with a career-high 12 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for a loss and a sack at South Alabama. He was named FBS Independent Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Anthony is able to use his speed and quickness to beat blockers and make plays. He is very active and productive for a 3-4 defensive end.

Amos Mason entered spring practice as the starting left defensive end but lost the job when the staff moved Anthony from right to left defensive end. Mason is a 6-1”, 250 pound junior. The former direct admit played in five games last year and posted two tackles. Mason was originally projected to inside linebacker for the Midshipmen. He played on the JV team as a plebe and was moved up to defensive end last year. Mason is very athletic and won three straight state wrestling championships in high school. Amos set the Tennessee state record for the most consecutive wrestling wins with 133. Mason is strong, physical and can move. His skill set is very similar to Will Anthony's.

Sophomore Michael Raiford ended his plebe season on the depth chart at nose guard. Raiford was moved to left defensive end this past spring. Michael is a 6-6", 294 pound lineman who flat out impressed me at NAPS. He is a physical combination of size and speed rarely seen in a Navy defensive lineman. Michael is a big man with long arms. He weighs 294 pounds but is not fat and actually looks lean and athletic. Raiford runs extremely well for his size and has natural strength. He comes off the ball very well and has a nice burst towards the ball carrier. Michael still needs to work on his line techniques and focus on not playing too high. He has a huge upside to his game once he receives more coaching and improves with experience.

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