Personnel Preview: Army Offense

A closer look at the Black Knight's offensive starters and key reserves for Saturday's matchup with the Irish.

Army Skill Position Starters

The Black Knights boast the nation's No. 8 Rush Offense at better than 272 yards per contest. Army has scored 38 touchdowns through 10 games; 33 of which via the ground game with 11 Cadets hitting pay dirt this fall.

Quarterback #8 Trent Steelman – 6'0" 185-pound sophomore is second on the squad in rushing with 596 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns. Last season, Steelman became the first Army freshman quarterback to start the season opener (and, each of the team's 12 contests) in the team's modern era (post 1944)…Has hit on 56 of 99 throws for almost 800 yards and five touchdowns with just one interception…

Fullback #7 Jared Hassin – Army's leading rusher 858 yards (a robust 5.7 yards per carry) as the first option in the team's vaunted attack. At 6'3" 235 pounds, Hassin eclipsed the 100-yard mark in four consecutive contests this season, an Academy record (includes a 16-carry, 118-yard effort vs. BCS foe Rutgers on October 16)…Has averaged 13.1 yards per grab on his 11 receptions this season while posting two rushes in excess of 50 yards through the first 10 contests.

Slotback #5 Patrick Mealy – Enters Saturday's contest ranked 25th on Army's all-time rushing list with 1,441 yards. The 5'8" 205-pound bowling ball has rolled for 369 yards on 80 carries (4.6 per rush) this season with two touchdowns…Ran for 673 yards on just 110 carries in 2009 and has 7 career scores in 26 starts (40 games played).

Slotback #32 Brian Cobbs – Ranks third on the squad with five rushing scores as part of a 42-carry, 268-yard rushing effort through 10 games. The 5'11" 185-pound slot played nine games last season at cornerback but has appeared in all 10 games this season, including three starts, as part of the triple-option backfield…Has four plays from scrimmage in excess of 30 yards this season.

Wide Receiver #13 Davyd Brooks – Started the season's first nine games but played in a support role last week, a 45-28 win over Kent State. The 6'3" 212-pound Brooks ranks fourth on the team in receptions (10) but second in receiving yards (162) with a team-best 16.2 yards per grab and one touchdown…Also has a team-high 41-yard grab to his credit, secured in a 41-23 win over Tulane in early October.

Wide Receiver #87 Austin Barr – At 6'4" 208, the lanky Barr presents matchup problems on the perimeter for the Irish defense….Boasts team-highs of 13 catches, 202 receiving yards and three touchdown receptions. ..Has played in 22 consecutive games, starting nine this (all this season).

Key Reserves

The Cadets have amassed more than 600 rushing yards and 270 receiving yards from their four lead bench contributors.

Slotback #23 Malcolm Brown – Ranks fourth on the squad with 55 carries for 328 yards…Second-year contributor has also hit paydirt three times in short-yardage situations…5'11" 180-pound sophomore has also returned 13 kicks this season with a long of 34 yards vs. Eastern Michigan.

Slotback #36 Jonathan Crucitti – 5'11" 195-pound freshman has amassed 126 yards from scrimmage on 30 touches in six game appearances.

Fullback #34 Jacob Bohn – Senior has appeared in the Black Knights last 22 contests, starting the first game of his Cadet career vs. North Texas in mid-September…5'9" 215-pound spark plug has 76 yards on 15 carries including a highlight-reel 18-yard TD run vs. rival Air Force.

Wide Receiver #84 George Jordan – The third in a trio of tall pass-catching targets, the 6'3" 216-pound Jordan is tied for second on the squad with 11 catches for 115 yards. Has started three games and appeared in each of Army's 10 contests this fall.

Army Offensive Line

The well-schooled offensive front has allowed just four sacks this season – the second consecutive week in which Bob Diaco's Irish defense has faced an O-Line that had yielded just four take downs entering the contest.

Left Tackle #73 Anees Merzi – Has started each of the team's 10 contests at left tackle this season…The 6'4" 274-pound senior appeared in all 12 games last fall though had not appeared in a collegiate contest prior…Viewed as the team's most versatile lineman and became an immediate contributor under then first-year head coach Rich Ellerson last season.

Left Guard #79 Frank Allen – 6'4" 275-pound sophomore has started 10 games this season, his first as a contributor…Won the starting job early in spring ball and has held firm in the left guard role since.

Center #57 Zach Peterson – The quarterback of cohesive offensive front has started 12 games last season and in the first seven of 2010 before missing the VMI contest due to injury…The 6'1" 267-pound senior entered the season as a Phil Steele All-Independent center after earning second-team honors (behind Notre Dame's Eric Olsen) at the conclusion of the 2009 campaign.

Right Guard #54 Seth Reed – 6'1" 275-pound guard began his career at defensive tackle before shifting to offensive guard last fall…Has started each of the team's 12 games this season and 24 straight dating back to the '09 season opener…Second team All-Independent selection entering the season though received first-team honors at the end of 2009.

Right Tackle #67 Jason Johnson – Leads the unit with 32 consecutive starts heading into Saturday's contest…Undersized at 6'3" 240 pounds, Johnson is revered by fans for a nasty on-field temperament, quickness off the ball and tremendous technique that serves him well vs. bigger pass rushers…Faces a difficult matchup with improving Irish junior defensive end Ethan Johnson on the edge.


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