February 4, 2012

After Thoughts: The Recruiting Class of 2012

Surely there must be a sigh of relieve for Coach Rich Ellerson, as he is now able to see everything come together in what has been a long process for the coaching staff which started in the spring.

The staff did something a little bit unique this year by hitting the road some during the second week in October ... and every week subsequent to that until National Signing Day.

Obviously the hard work has paid some significant dividends, where the staff appreciates seeing some of their prospects for whom they met in May, then again in the Fall, then during the season along with finally getting them on campus for an official visit .... with the icing on the cake being the recruits' pledge to play for Army and attend West Point.

This class has depth and quality, along with having both athleticism and surprising size. When you add to that the low attrition numbers, especially those who enter the program via the USMAPS, it only ensures that there is a continuous pipeline of talent in the system.

For this incoming group, you can start with a player like 6-foot-2, 275 pound defensive tackle Ammon Tuimaunei, who may be the jewel of this year's very talented class, but there is plenty of talent up and down the list of newest members of the Long Gray Line, who will soon be wearing the black & gold of Army.

Another player to keep an eye on is out of the Queen City ... Cincinnati, Ohio and that is
Desmond Jarman, who will turn some heads sooner than later. The very mature 6-foot-3, 220 pound defensive end is big, physical and strong, as well as having a motor. Jarman, who looks game ready right now, might have been the steal of this year's class. Not to mention Ammon Tuimaunei Cedrik Bell, who if your aren't watching while lugging the rock, he will knock your block off from his customary safety position or perhaps a more hybrid role with Army.

The Black Knights reach out to neighboring New Jersey and pulled in 3-star prospect
Elijah St. Hilaire out of Palisades Park (NJ) Palisades Park High School. How good is the 5-foot-10, 176 pound prospect? He has the type of talent that could have him returning kicks for the next four years ... he's that good and that explosive with the ball in his hands.

Did we mention cornerback Josh Jenkins out of powerhouse De La Salle out of Concord (Calif.)? Jenkins is clearly a Division I corner and the 6-foot-0, 185 pounder and someone who has enough talent where he could potentially start for three years for the Black Knights.

Kansas State decommit Nate Guidry adds some thump to the class and is will be interesting to see where the 6-foot-2, 185 ends up playing on defense ... he's that versatile.

There are a few sleepers in this group, starting with Eddy Ruzga, who could be equally effective at running back and linebacker. At a legitimate 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, he already is physically capable of competing early on.

Joel Ragazzo i, who played nose guard and defensive end in high school, will most likely start his collegiate career off playing on the edge. He stands at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, and look for him to arrive this summer in the 225-230 pound range. In 2011, he had 75 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and 7 blocked field goals. Ragazzo, who hails from Spanaway (Wa.) Bethel School, was a maven on the field.

The continued recruiting maturation for this staff is that they are not just recruiting a bunch of players and try to get them to all attend college together, it's been recruiting the 'right' guys.

Ellerson and his staff have developed a reputation of recruiting players who are fits for West Point, and it's a staff that deals with each prospect openingly, as well as honestly.

The purpose of this article is not to present a scouting report on each committed player, but only to say that from our perspective, top to bottom, this is the best Army recruiting class (on paper) that we have witnessed over the past several years.

We say that relative to the athleticism, as well as the prospects understanding of what they are 'signing up' for. These are players who in essence were recruited to become Second Lieutenants and they are getting to that destination by wearing the black & gold of Army. Hence, the mission is bigger than 'just' playing football and this 2012 class appears to get that.

Notes: There were a few disappointments and surprises while assembling this talented class. Perhaps the biggest surprise was one that got away, which was offensive lineman Brandon Dewitt. It appeared that Dewitt's commitment would come soon and swiftly, but that never occurred, as he took an official visit to Sam Houston State and committed.

Stay tuned to GoBlackKnights.com, where will have much more on the 2012 class, as 9 uncommitted prospects will be making their way to campus for their February 3rd weekend visit.

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