The fullback is the first read in triple option football. Having a quality fullback like Jared Hassin last year allowed Army's offense to nearly double its points per game average over the previous season. Jared Hassin was not only Army's B back but was also its MVP last season when he carried the ball 191 times for 1,013 yards, averaged 5.3 yards a carry, and scored nine touchdowns. Last year the prep school had a B back who had an equally impressive season. ARMYSPORTS.com will now take a look at the new Black Knight fullbacks.
Larry Dixon is a six-foot, 225 pound 2010 recruit who had an outstanding season last year at the United States Military Academy Prep school. In high school Dixon was the Olympic Western League MVP his senior year. He produced 5,182 rushing yards and 59 touchdowns during his high school career. As a senior in 2009 Larry ran for 1,748 yards and scored 25 touchdowns.
Last season, while playing fullback at USMAPS, Dixon was named the team's offensive MVP. Dixon started the year rather slowly as he adapted from being a high school I-set tailback to playing option "B" back in a three-point stance with his hand on the ground. Dixon had a break out performance in the third game of the season when he rushed for over 200 yards in USMAPS 54-53 upset win over prep powerhouse Milford Academy. It was Milford Academy’s, a team that produced 21 FBS and FCS scholarship players, only loss last season.
Against FDU's JV Dixon scored two touchdowns including a 71-yard burst through the line of scrimmage. In a game against Valley Forge, Dixon demonstrated his explosive power and leg drive bursting through the line and running over multiple defenders on a 10-yard touchdown run. Dixon blew the Stevens Tech game open with a 52-yard run. Against Air Force's loaded prep lineup Dixon broke off a long run and had a kickoff return touchdown called back because of a penalty.
In the game against arch rival Navy Prep Dixon rumbled 19 yards on one play when it looked like he was playing against a Pop Warner team. Larry dragged the NAPS defense 10 yards as he refused to go down. When the referees finally blew the whistle it seemed the entire Navy team was hanging onto Dixon. It looked like a scene from an old Marx's brother movie with a NAPS cornerback wrapped around Dixon head in the air on top of the pile! Dixon had two 200-yard rushing performances last year and scored 11 touchdowns in nine starts.
Dixon is built like a smaller version of Earl Campbell or a young Jerome Bettis. He has a tremendously powerful lower body, huge thighs with impressive leg drive. Dixon is a natural runner with a low center of gravity. He has exceptional balance and very quick feet. He has an explosive burst, is extremely physical and is very difficult for one man to tackle. Dixon is a terrific athlete who's run a 11.3 second 100 meters and has thrown the shot put over 50 feet.
Dixon carries his speed wearing pads. He actually plays a lot faster than he times. In the huge win against prep powerhouse Milford Academy, Dixon had a 70-yard touchdown run and outran a secondary where every starter landed a scholarship. Jeremy Davis who was the 20th rated defensive back in the nation and earned a scholarship to USF could not run Dixon down. In my opinion, Larry Dixon is the most talented size/speed running back recruit for Army since Akili King. Expect him to back up Jared Hassin at fullback this year and see playing time. .
Ross McDonald is a 6-3, 205 pound running back from Avon, Connecticut who was a two star recruit. McDonald rushed for 1,254 yards and scored 20 touchdowns his senior season. Ross was incredibly productive his junior and senior years at Avon. He rushed for over 3,200 yards and scored
55 touchdowns for his high school team that went 18-3 the last two years.
McDonald consistently demonstrated a surprising burst and good speed in high school. He did a very good job at Avon of bouncing off tacklers and breaking free for additional yardage. McDonald has very good balance after contact and great leg drive. He was listed as a linebacker on R day list because he also played the position in high school but his hardnosed inside the tackles running style looks to be made for the Army B back role.
Another direct admit who can play fullback is Steve Riccardi. Riccardi is a 6-0, 190 pound local product from Harrison High school in nearby Harrison, N.Y. Ricciardi played running back and defensive back the last two years. Playing in an option offense, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards as Harrison reached the Class A state championship game. Riccardi was his high school team's captain and in 2010 was named to the All-Journal News 2nd team as a running back.
Riccardi is an upright runner with good feet and vision. He has average quickness and speed. While he possesses a few nifty moves his strength as a runner lies primarily in running between the tackles. Riccardi says that his family tends to be late bloomers physically and that he expects to grow taller and add strength over the next year. Riccardi can play fullback or A back but has the position flexibility to play defensive back.
Next: A look at the incoming A and C running backs.