2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 88 Army Black Knights
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Army Black Knights
No. 88: Army Black Knights
Army Black Knights Prespring Status
How do you improve upon that? There’s no conference championship for Army to play for, and it’ll never get to the College Football Playoff, so beating Navy and winning a bowl game in the same season is about as good as it gets. The running game worked like normal under Jeff Monken, but it was the rise of the defense – finishing fourth in the nation – that became the biggest factor in the massive turnaround.
The D might lose a few heart-and-soul types, but just four starters are gone, while just about everyone of note is back on the high-powered rushing attack. This was actually the year Army was supposed to be good enough to challenge for a bowl game – no one’s complaining about being a little bit early in the timetable.
Army Black Knights Biggest Issue
Yeah, seven starters from the bowl game are back on defense, but some of the losses are gaping. Safety Xavier Moss finished fourth on the team with 57 tackles – to go along with two picks and five broken up passes – as the star and leader of the secondary, while the biggest stars of the last few seasons were linebackers Jeremy Timpf and Andrew King. They combined for 184 tackles in 2015 – Moss was third on the team, by the way, and Timpf led the team in 2014 – and last year they managed to come up with 209 tackles and 24 tackles for loss. Army has good players returning on D, but Timpf, King and Moss might just be irreplaceable.
Army Black Knights Biggest Positive
The top nine rushers from last season return – everyone who ran for 100 yards or more on the season will be back. Andy Davidson led the team with 961 yards and 12 touchdowns while QB Ahmad Bradshaw returns after cranking up 826 yards and eight scores. Yeah, leading receiver Edgar Poe is gone, but he only caught 16 passes on the year – the offense is all about the running game. All 46 rushing touchdowns from the nation’s second-ranked ground attack are back.
Really, Why Are The Army Black Knights Ranked Here?
Can the Black Knights be that much better? Can they possibly repeat the production, and can they be more consistent? Yeah, they beat Navy, Temple and Wake Forest, but they lost to Buffalo and got walloped by North Texas and Air Force. At some point, there has to be a wee bit of a passing game – Army finished dead last in the country, and wasn’t even efficient when it had its chances – and losing the three leaders on defense really will matter. That doesn’t mean this can’t be another bowl year, though.