While Army suffered through a disappointing 2015 season the program is focused on moving forward with new personnel. Coach Jeff Monken and the Black Knights are focused on evaluating players on both sides of the ball, as their spring game is on April 30, less than 2 weeks away. The following 3 positions are a point of focus for the Army coaching staff.
Offensive Line: The departure of senior center, Matt Hugenberg, was a major blow to a developing Black Knights' offensive line. Sophomore, Victor Nieves III, has been taking first team reps in all of Army's practices and scrimmages, a good indicator that the 6-4 318 lbs. linemen has the starting center job locked up. Also a probable lock for a starting role is left guard, Jaryn Villegas. Villegas appeared in 5 games last season, including a start in the Black Knights' opening game against Fordham. Villegas will replace senior Justin Gilbert who will begin his service in the Army.
Quarterbacks: Army uses a triple option on offense, an offensive scheme that the quarterbacks must know inside and out. The Black Knights utilized three quarterbacks throughout the course of last season: senior A.J. Schurr, sophomore Ahmad Bradshaw, and freshman Chris Carter. With Schurr gone, Bradshaw and Carter look to carry an Army offense that ranked in the bottom 87% in offensive efficiency last season. Now a junior, Bradshaw barely played in the annual Army-Navy game back in December, as he was coming off an ankle injury. The Chicago native ran and threw for 5 touchdowns, while starting the most games (8) for a QB. Carter started Army's last regular season game against Rutgers, where the now sophomore threw for 140 yards and a TD. This was a record high for a Black Knights freshman QB. Coach Monken has not made a decision on who the starter will be, but he has expressed interest in using both Bradshaw and Carter in the triple option.
Defensive Backs: Unlike the previous two positions, all the safeties and corner backs are returning players. Junior Rhyan England is a strong free safety when used in specific packages dealing with extensive coverage on receivers. He started all 10 games for the Black Knights and placed third on the team with 64 tackles. Senior Tevin Long is also integrated as a free safety, depending on the package. He is a quiet defensive back, averaging 2 solo stops per game last season. Coach Monken has praised Long's ability to go after his man when man to man coverage is in play. Elijah Riley, a product of Selden, NY, could be used this season as a corner or safety depending on the package. Riley lead his high school, Newfield, to their first undefeated season at 12-0, capturing the Long Island Class II Championship. He could provide a spark for Army on the defensive side of the ball, as he plays tight coverage whether it be man to man or zone.