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Class of 2018 ready to rock

WEST POINT – Army’s Class of 2018 has begun its six weeks of Cadet Basic Training, but 60 of those incoming freshmen will shortly thereafter be training for Saturday afternoons.

“I am anxious to see how this class develops,” Army first-year head football coach Jeff Monken said. “I am sure we will find that we have really good players that we will be excited about in a couple of years down the road when they are able to mature and develop. It’s tough. Everything is under the gun. You have to get guys identified. You have to get the admission files started. You have to set up an official visit. You have to get them here to campus. Because it’s late and because you are scrambling you are hoping your evaluations are right. You don’t get to do as thorough an evaluation of guys.”

New York is the most represented state with eight players. Seven are from Texas, six from North Carolina, five from California, four from Illinois and South Carolina and three from Ohio, Missouri and Arizona. There are two players from Florida and Georgia and one each from Indiana, Michigan, Arkansas, Virginia, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Colorado, Wisconsin, Alabama, Iowa, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Hawaii.

Of the 60, 31 have come directly from high school; 29 played football at the U.S. Military Academy Prep School (USMAPS) in 2013. As Monken was hired Dec. 24, he and his staff needed to play catch up with their recruiting.

“There are challenges with when we started and not having an entire staff to go out and evaluate,” he said. “I really give credit to the guys who were here when I started, coach [Todd] Spencer and coach [Tucker] Waugh. As well as coach [Brent] Davis, coach [Sean] Saturnio, coach [Lamont] Seward and coach [Mitch] Ware who came in from Georgia Southern and really did the bulk of recruiting, especially early on. That was tough on them. They were all over the country and had to evaluate a lot of film on both sides of the ball.”

The offensive side of the ball has 44 new players; the defense has 11 newcomers; special teams, five.

“We will always place a real value on guys who can run well, guys who are fast,” Monken said. “Big guys who can run are hard to find. When you find them, you are often in a lot of competition because everyone is looking for big guys who can run. I knew that after meeting our team that we needed to get bigger. The guys we have needed to develop physically and get bigger we needed to recruit guys who have the kinds of frames that can carry more weight. That could be bigger.”

Monken’s prioritization of bigger and stronger is based on the caliber of the Black Knights’ opponents.

“We’re going to play teams that are going to be a lot bigger than us physically and I know that, he said. “We’ll try to get closer to some of those major five conference teams and we are going to have to face a number of them. We are going to have to match up physically as close as we can to those teams to have a chance. We don’t want to sacrifice athleticism and speed just to have a bigger football team. Really it’s a combination we are looking for. We tried to find guys who are athletic enough, guys who are fast enough that are maybe a little bit of a project in terms of their physical stature. We tried to find guys who are longer, taller, broader who we felt we could put some weight on. That’s really what we targeted. We targeted those kinds of guys from the start.”

Army opens its 125th season Sept. 6 at Michie Stadium against Buffalo. Its others home games are against Ball State (Oct. 14); Rice (Oct. 21); Air Force (Nov. 1); Connecticut (Nov. 8); and Fordham (Nov. 22). Its annual tussle with Navy is Dec. 13 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

The roster of recruits, with their positions, schools and hometowns is as follows:

Jermaine Adams K, 6-1 195 Universal City, Texas/Judson/(USMAPS)
Alex Aukerman RB, 6-1, 205 Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove
Sage Baltrusaitis OL, 6-0 260 Royal Oak, Mi./Brother Rice
Brandon Barnes QB, 6-1 185 Staten Island, N.Y./Tottenville/(USMAPS)
Clay Barton LS, 5-10 190 Cumming, Ga./North Forsyth
Joshua Boylan DL, 6-1 244 Tyler, Texas/Grace Community
Ahmad Bradshaw QB, 5-11 190 Chicago, Ill./Gwendolyn Brooks/(USMAPS)
Kado Brown RB, 5-11 180 Ventura, Calif./Rio Mesa
Myles Brown DB, 6-1 223 Wake Forest, N.C./Woodberry Forest
Nehemiah Brown RB, 5-9 180 Lemon Grove, Calif./Valhalla/(USMAPS)
Justin Byers RB, 6-0 205 Cary, N.C./Panther Creek
Dan Carlone OL, 6-3 230 Jericho, N.Y./Saint Anthony’s/(USMAPS)
Marchelino Christie RB, 5-10 180 Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa Central
Dan Davis LB, 6-0 234 Vestal, N.Y./Union-Endicott Central
Dylan Eddy WR, 6-3 180 White Plains, N.Y./Woodlands/(USMAPS)
Jeff Ejekam WR, 6-3 200 Houston, Texas/Bellaire
Jordan Elliott, LB 6-1 215 Camden, Ark./Camden-Fairview
Rhyan England RB, 5-11 180 Suwanee, Ga./Collins Hill
Tim Garner P, 6-3 220 Falls Church, Va./George C. Marshall
Quay Gilmore RB, 5-8 175 Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell/(USMAPS)
Blake Goddard QB, 5-11 206 Frontenac, Mo./Kirkwood
Seth Gonzales QB, 6-1 190 El Paso, Texas/Chapin
Kahill Harper RB, 5-10 178 Tulsa, Okla./Tulsa Union/(USMAPS)
Bryce Holland OL, 6-2 260 Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton
Mike Houghton OL, 6-3 218 Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect/(USMAPS)
Patrick Joseph OL, 6-3 275 Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton/(USMAPS)
Jonathan Kim K, 5-11 170 Gardena, Calif./Bishop Montgomery/(USMAPS)
Grant Kramer OL, 6-4 25 Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury
Tyler L’Hommedieu RB, 5-11 185 Salisbury, N.C./East Rowan/(USMAPS)
Andrew McLean OL, 6-3 240 Louisville, Colo./Broomfield Senior/(USMAPS)
Jason Nix OL, 6-1 225 Kansas City, Mo./Rockhurst/(USMAPS)
Mark Nordhausen RB, 6-4 245 Lakewood Ranch, Fla./Cardinal Mooney/(USMAPS)
Egbezien Obiomon OL, 5-11 195 Cypress, Texas/Cypress Woods/(USMAPS)
Trey Ratliff OL, 6-4 275 Wake Forest, N.C./Heritage
Christian Reed RB, 5-7 160 Lexington, S.C./Columbia/(USMAPS)
Dionte Reed LB, 6-0 200 Shorewood, Ill./Minooka/(USMAPS)
Brennan Richmond DL, 6-2 230 Milwaukee, Wis./Riverside University/(USMAPS)
Matt Sannella RB, 6-1 215 Maineville, Ohio/Kings
Nick Schebler RB, 6-1 205 Davenport, Iowa/Assumption/(USMAPS)
Nick Shiver RB, 5-11 200 Mount Pleasant, S.C./Bishop England
Tim Shover OL, 6-2 275 Prospect Heights, Ill./Wheeling
Garrett Sweetser LB, 6-1 215 Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza
Jake Taylor RB, 6-0 170 Blue Jay, Calif./Rim of the World/(USMAPS)
Aaron Thompson LB, 6-2 205 Mobile, Ala./Mobile Christian
Brett Toth OL, 6-6 265 Charleston, S.C./West Ashley
John Trainor RB, 5-10 175 Harrington Park, N.J./Northern Valley/(USMAPS)
Zach Trainor RB, 5-9 180 West Point, N.Y./James I O’Neill/(USMAPS)
Alex Turner RB, 5-8 170 Tucson, Ariz./Sabino
Joe Tustin DL, 6-1 285 Glen Head, N.Y./Saint Anthony’s/(USMAPS)
Jake Vaughn DL, 6-2 230 Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Etiwanda/(USMAPS)
Jaryn Villegas OL, 6-0 275 Wahiawa, Hawaii/Leilehua/(USMAPS)
John Voit OL, 6-2 215 Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette/(USMAPS)
Jack Ward OL, 6-3 230 North Hampton, N.H./Phillips Andover
Dennis Washington RB, 6-0 205 Charleston, S.C./James Island
Scott Washle RB, 6-1 215 Raleigh, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons/(USMAPS)
Corey Wilkinson RB, 5-11 220 Port Byron, N.Y./Bishop Ludden/(USMAPS)
Morgan Wilcox RB, 5-10 227 Cincinnati, Ohio/La Salle
Blake Wilson K, 5-9 140 Boca Raton, Fla./Boca Raton Community
Bayle Wolf LB, 6-0 200 Wilmington, Ohio/Clinton Massie
Chris Zook RB, 6-0 180 Houston, Texas/Saint Thomas

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