The top 10 Army football players you need to know for the 2016 season.
1. LB Andrew King, Sr.
One of the key all-around playmakers to the improved defense, the 6-0, 246-pounder turned in a team-leading 92 tackles with 4.5 sacks and a whopping 16.5 tackles for loss trying to do a little of everything on his own. The pass rushing outside linebacker came up with 11 stops against both Duke and Air Force, and he lived in the backfield against UConn with 4.5 tackles for loss. He’s the veteran star who can take over at times and be a third down stopper.
2. LB Jeremy Timpf, Sr.
The team’s leading tackler two years ago, he’s not as big as Andrew King, and he’s not the same pass rusher, but he serves the same role at times coming up with 117 stops with 14.5 tackles for loss in his first season, and last year making 92 tackles with 1.5 sacks and five tackles for loss. The 6-1, 225-pounder out of Tucson isn’t all that big and he doesn’t have a huge build, but he holds up well and is great on the move. A leader among leaders, he’s one of the team’s captains and one of the positives on the improved D.
3. CB Brandon Jackson, Soph.
At 6-0 and 170 pounds, he’s a good-sized young corner who came up with a nice first year proving to be physical for his lean frame, making 62 tackles with a team-leading three picks. A high school safety and wide receiver, he took to the corner gig right away working mostly on the field side, holding his own in the open field finishing second on the team in solo stops with 50. Very steady for his youth, he proved he’ll be a key part of the defensive backfield for three more years.
4. RB Aaron Kemper, Sr.
Positions at times in the Army backfield come down to semantics, with Kemper occasionally working in the fullback role and other times cranking up big numbers as the lead runner. A part-time starter, he led the team with 544 yards and three scores averaging 5.4 yards per carry with 140 yards and a score against Eastern Michigan and 129 yards and a touchdown against Rice. At just 5-6 and 210 pounds he’s not big, but he’s a quick back who’s impossible to find behind the line.
5. QB Ahmad Bradshaw, Jr.
In a quarterback battle, he’s the best rushing option under center, working like another running back most of the time. The Chicago native is just 5-11 and 198 pounds rushing for 468 yards and five scores last year, while completing 23-of-48 passes for 429 yards and five scores and two picks in his eight games of work. He’s got a decent enough arm, but he’s not accurate or consistent – he’s at his best when he’s on the move. He started out last year running for 143 yards and two scores against Fordham and followed it up with 129 yards and a touchdown against the killer UConn run defense. Banged up a bit too much, he takes a pounding.
6. QB Chris Carter, Soph.
Carter filled in when Ahmad Bradshaw couldn’t go, taking off for 129 yards and a touchdown while completing 13-of-21 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. The 5-11, 170-pounder can run – like all Army quarterbacks can – but he’s not the playmaker Bradshaw is. However, he’s a special athlete and a better passer with a more accurate arm.
7. S Xavier Moss, Sr.
The 6-2, 197-pound former wide receiver took to his new gig without any sort of a problem. Big, athletic, and with good speed, he caught six passes for 52 yards and two scores two seasons ago, but last year he became an excellent safety finishing third on the team with 67 tackles with an interception and five broken up passes, and he even got on the offensive side for a bit catching a pass for 26 yards. He might not be polished as a defensive back quite yet, but he’s a willing hitter highlighted by an 11-stop game against Duke.
8. OT Rick Kurz, Soph.
Working at left tackle for Army is a bit different than it is at most placed, but he’s a talented fit for what the offense needs to do. Only 6-2 and 265 pounds, he’s not built like a normal tackle, but he’s a good, quick blocker who’s great on the move. One of the rare recruits who probably could’ve played somewhere else on the FBS level, he could work just about anywhere up front, but he’s found his home for the next few years.
9. WR Edgar Poe, Sr.
It’s relative to be the team’s leading receiver, but he had his moments with 16 catches for 441 yards and six scores, averaging 27.6 yards per try with 100 yards on three grabs against Bucknell, and lighting up Navy with five grabs for 121 yards and a score. He came up with a touchdown catch in each of his last three games, taking advantage of the moments when defenses focused solely on the ground attack – he can get into the clear and needs a quarterback who can hit him. At 6-4 and 215 pounds he’s a matchup problem with his track speed to go along with his size, and he’s able to get physical for the ground game.
10. FS Rhyan England, Jr.
After getting a little bit of work as a freshman, last year he cranked up 64 tackles with four broken up passes and three tackles for loss as a veteran safety topping out with 13 stops against UConn early on. The 5-10, 192-pounder isn’t all that big and was knocked out for a stretch – he’s not afraid to get physical. While he needs to come up with more plays when the ball is in the air, he also has to be able to stay in one piece and not take too much of a beating.