Navy always recruits well at what they do. They find guys that fit roles, whether it's speedy slotbacks (A), bruising fullbacks (B) or that X WR that's tall and rangy. Where they have had bad seasons in the past lied in getting the QB position in gear with a guy that excels at making the triple option reads. Where Army has put their most touches in the hands of the B-Back, Navy has kept the offense QB-centric.
Keenan Reynolds moved on to the NFL and took 8500 total yards and 120 TDs with him. In his stead was supposed to be senior Tiago Smith, but when Smith went down after rushing for 97 yards and 2 TDs, Will Worth took over. Worth, also a senior, contributed a total of 2500 yards and 33 TDs until he was injured and in stepped Zach Abey- a sophomore. Abey struggled against Army early but finished the season with around 700 yards and 7 TDs. Rising sophomore Malcolm Perry, a 5'9 2 time all-state QB from Tennessee, seemed to be Abey's backup (showed him warming up on the sideline) in the bowl game and Army rivalry game.
Another key position for Navy to recruit will be the B-Back. While Navy does return Chris High who ran for 550 yards and 7 TDs, High is a rising senior. After him are guys with limited to no carries in the wake of losing Swain and White to graduation. White ran for 450 yards and 7 TDs in 2016. Gargiulo and Benning are two B-Backs on the roster but neither have a ton of experience on the field. While Navy doesn’t rely on the B-Back as much as Army, it is a vital part of the offense to have a guy that can pick up short yardage when they go for it on 4th down.
Something you can ask any 3-4 defense coach and they'll tell you is you can never have enough Nose Guards. Navy returns 5 and will bring in 3 more. The Nose sets the tone for the defense often 2-gapping and having to have the strength and size to take on a double-team. It's hard to find and keep size at Navy with their height and weight requirements for schooling as well as the physical fitness entrance and daily PT requirements. The Middies will miss Patrick Forrestal, who played a good amount as a junior and started all season as a senior. Forrestal made 37 tackles in 2016 at 305lbs.