Meet the New Mids: Defensive Backs

The new defensive backs recruits for this year's class are not as deep and as talented as they seem for defensive line and linebacker. However there is plenty of athleticism and Navy has done a terrific job in developing talent over the last eight years.

Navy's returns three of the four starters from a defensive backfield that helped the Midshipman rank 16th in nation in scoring defense. The Mids finished fourth in the nation in red zone scoring defense and 28th overall in total defense. While the Mids lose Blake Carter at cornerback they have some experienced backups ready to fill in. The larger concern is next year when defensive captain Wyatt Middleton graduates along with cover corner Kevin Edwards and safety Emmett Merchant.

Eric Graham was the most impressive defensive back last year at the Naval Academy Prep school. Graham (5-11, 175) is a cornerback from Alabama who is a smooth, agile cover corner who can turn and run. Graham is quick and shows a burst to the ball. He reacts well to the ball in the air. He was a very productive player at NAPS. Graham chose Navy over four other college offers.

Jonathan Wev (5-10, 190) is a safety from Texas. Wev is a very competitive, smart player with a great motor. Wev has outstanding field awareness and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. The year at NAPS really benefited him physically as he added fifteen pounds and grew two inches. Always playing with maximum effort, he is the epitome of a Navy football player.

Brantley Horton was converted from wide receiver to safety at NAPS. Horton is a versatile athlete having played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back the last three years. As expected from a converted wide receiver, Horton has fine ball awareness and good hands. He reads the field well. Horton is a long strider and isn't especially fast or quick but offers good size at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds. He speed and quickness should improve with additional repetitions. Horton caught 47 passes for 876 yards and 11 TDs playing wide receiver as a senior in North Carolina.

Todd Culver is the unknown quantity from NAPS. Culver was hurt during preseason camp and missed the entire season. He is from Ohio where he played both wide receiver and defensive back. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Culver has good speed and posted 618 receiving yards and seven touchdowns as a wide receiver. At defensive back Culver had 25 tackles and broke up eight passes his senior year in high school.

There were two defensive back direct admits this year. Pono "Wave" Ryder on just the name alone sounds like he was born to play at Navy. Wave Ryder played both wide receiver and safety in high school. Ryder is a 6-foot-2, 185 pound safety from Hawaii. Ryder has good speed and is very aggressive in run support. Ryder is similar in style to Wyatt Middleton with his upright running style and closing speed.

Ryder had a huge interception and return in leading his high school to the state championship. He has good hands, anticipation and understands zone coverages. He originally committed to Utah State but switch to Navy.

The other direct admit is Trevon Griffin a 6-foot-2, 181 pound safety from Miramar, Florida. Griffin posted 59 tackles for his unbeaten high school team. He also returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Griffin is a fine all round athlete who also was a backup quarterback. He covers a lot of ground and is a solid tackler. He has excellent speed and was a member of Miramar High school 4 x 400 meter relay team that was one of the best in the state.

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