Say what you want about the previous coaching staff, headed by former Army Head Coach Todd Berry. One thing is certain, and that is, he didn't leave the cupboard empty relative to talent. Although the receiver corp. loses co-captain Clint Woody, this will be an extremely deep and talented position that will represent one of the strength areas of the Black Knights.
common as the word talent is to the main trio of wide receivers, Aaron Alexander
("AA"), William White and Jacob Murphy, their distinctions are just as
diverse. Alexander is a tall and
rangy receiver whose presence mismatches with many cornerbacks and
safeties. As demonstrated last
season, Alexander (6-foot-6) not only towers over opposing defensive backs, but
also constantly out jumps them for receptions.
has the combination of outstanding hands and speed (one of the fastest players
on the team), with the knack for making catches with defensive backs draped all
Murphy, White brings blazing speed to the table. In addition, White has sure hands, and
is also a very physical receiver, who is built like a running back (5-foot-11,
200 pounds). White, who doubles as
a kickoff returner, can add YAC (Yards After Catch) to his list of
attributes. This makes him a threat
every time he gets his hands on the ball.
the offensive scheme will determine how many receivers are on the field at the
same time. Therefore we should
expect this position to be one of the most hotly contested in terms of players
trying to earn starting roles, as well as quality playing
look at the other talent at wide receiver:
Lamar Mason is a small-stature receiver with blazing speed and game-breaking
ability. Mason also doubles as a
punt and kick returner.
Walter Hill is one a few freshmen to see reps last season (see question #2).
Bruce Brown returns, as does Blaine Cooper. Whenever given the opportunity on
the field (mostly special teams), Brown always gave 110%. A solid downfield blocker as a receiver,
he will be looking forward to a breakthrough spring. Like Brown, Cooper will be looking to
make his mark this spring and solidify his role within the receiver's
the Black Knight QB's can get the ball into their hands, Army's receivers have
the talent to break big gains on any given play.
Wide Receiver questions
for this spring:
1. Will William White
have a breakout year?
White is our pick as the breakout WR of the spring. After being hit with injuries throughout
the past season, he is having a solid winter track season and he will be ready
physically going into spring practice.
He has always been a physical specimen, with outstanding speed and great
hands, and should be poised for a breakout spring and fall.
2. Is it Walter
Hill's time to shine?
he had a solid freshman campaign.
Although he didn't get many touches last season, he showed that he is
more than capable of adding depth at wide receiver and stepping in the starting
role when called upon. Unlike
White, Murphy, and Mason… Hill lacks burner speed and will need to work on his
routes, but one thing is certain, Mr. Hill can catch the ball. With a year under his belt, we look for
Hill to press the starters this spring.
3. Can the receivers
shake the injury bug?
last season Army's receivers were banged up. Part of the lack of overall production
at this position can be attributed to this factor. In addition, the constant change in
receivers (as well as QB) due to injuries clearly had impact on the timing
relative to having an effective and consistent passing game. With solid winter conditioning, it is
anticipated that coming into spring practice, all of the receivers will be at
4. Who will be the
year it was "AA", but as the year progressed, many defensive coordinators designed packages specifically to shut him down. Too often, the Black Knights were pressed to find that 2nd or 3rd go-to guy. Although this year the odds-on favorite to be "the" go-to guy in this offense is Alexander once again. However, the
coaching staff will be looking to several players to step up and be a go-to
receiver and all of the aforementioned receivers will be given every chance to
show they're the guy the Black Knights can and should go to on crucial
5. Have the receivers
Black Knight's offense to be effective, receivers will have to run precise
routes and know when to cut off a route, etc. A year ago some of these talented
receivers struggled to recognize defensives and adjust accordingly. For
experience players Alexander, White, Murphy and Mason, such adjustments should
now be second nature.
Michael Wright, Des
Moines (IA) Hoover HS is a 6-foot-3 190 pound wide out. Although Wright doesn't possess blazing
speed (4.65 seconds in the 40), he could turn into a bigger version of Walter
Hill. With the talent and depth on
board, for Wright and other incoming frosh receivers, this will be a year of
Conclusion: This group of receivers can be as
productive as any or most in all of Division I football. Only time will tell if they can live up
to the spring and pre-season expectations.