Andrew Doughty of Hero Sports has ranked the Midshipmen the 32nd college football team in the nation. Citing their record from last season (9-5, 7-1 in the AAC), head coach Ken Niuamatalo and the program’s stability.
“Navy won three total games between 2000-02,” stated Doughty, when writing about the Midshipmen. “They've won 28 the last three years, the highest three-year total in program history.
One of the most stable programs in college football continued winning last year and they'll do so again in 2017. While the talent is there for another run at 10 wins and the American title, a brutal schedule will be challenging.”
The Midshipmen have an offense that will return multiple key starters. Leading the way will be quarterback Zach Abey, who filled in for starting quarterback Will Worth during the end of the season and impressed with his running ability.
“While it stung at the time [losing starting quarterback Will Worth], Zach Abey gained much-needed experience -- he entered the Temple game with zero career pass attempts,” said Doughty. “The 6-foot-2, 212-pound junior threw two interceptions in the two losses, though he did play better in the Armed Forces Bowl, going 7-for-12 for 159 yards and one touchdown and rushing 25 times for 114 yards.”
Doughty also spoke of the return of fullback Chris High, running back Darryl Bonner, wide receiver Tyler Carmona, offensive tackle Andrew Martin and offensive guard Evan Martin. Navy’s offense was ranked fourth in the country in rushing. They were able to run for 4342 yards and 61 touchdowns on 742 attempts. The Midshipmen also averaged 310.1 rushing yards per game.
They lost standout rising sophomore safety Alohi Gilman to transfer and were ranked 84th nationally in scoring average. However, there are bright spots for Navy.
On defense, Navy returns defensive tackle Jackson Pittman, defensive end Jarvis Polu, linebacker Micah Thomas, linebacker D.J. Palmore, cornerback Tyris Wooten and safety Sean Williams. They return five starters on defense and six of their top eight tacklers.
Altogether, Navy has a solid team on paper and they have the coaching staff to back it up.