If this year is to be more of a progression than a recession for the Navy football team then it will have started this spring. It has been widely noted that the Mids team will be almost unrecognizable in the fall from the one that was so successful last season, with spring practice being just the first step on a long road that will end on opening day against Fordham. The offense in particular needs a total reboot with Jamir Tillman being the only returning starter on the unit.
Here are a few players who have stood out this spring and who need to be watched in the fall.
Shawn White – RB
Shawn White has some of the biggest shoes to fill on the entire offense as he tries to replace the production and consistency of full back Chris Swain. "I've always told Shawn White that he has the ability," Navy offensive coordinator Irvin Jasper said. "No disrespect to Chris Swain or anyone else, but Shawn's probably the best athlete we've had at that position. He's a really talented kid with great feet and hands."
Swain rushed for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns last year and with both the starter and primary backup Quentin Ezell having graduated the onus will be on White to carry the load. With just 28 carries in his college career so far he should at least be fresh by the time the 2016 season rolls around.
Josh Walker – Slot back
The Mids return three slot backs that saw playing time in 2015, so much of the spring has seen those reps go to younger players as the coaching staff looks for a break out star. Josh Walker is the one who has seemingly stepped up to the challenge, even though the future junior is not exactly what you think of when you consider the slot back position in the Mids offense. Walker is 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds, making him the biggest pure slot back Navy has had in a while. That size though translates to power and Walker has the ability to run through tackles that would take the rest of the Navy slots to the ground.
Micah Thomas – ILB
Micah Thomas is a name that should already be familiar to navy fans as he is a returning starter from last year’s squad. In 2015 Thomas ranked second on the team with 73 tackles, but given everything the Mids lost to graduation he will be expected to take on a bigger role next season. "Micah's having a really good spring. He has really grown up and is playing with much more confidence," new defensive coordinator Dale Pehrson said. "I think Micah understands the defense a lot better and is playing more instinctively. His communication and leadership have also improved."