For the Army coaching staff, January 9th official visit recruiting weekend will be everything but typical. With newly hired Head Coach Rich Ellerson overseeing his first such weekend as the Black Knights' head coach, there's a great deal of expectation on the part of Ellerson himself, as well as members of his coaching staff, for which some remain from the brief Brock regime, as well as those hired on by Ellerson and who will be arriving as early as Tuesday. Add to that, the anticipation of the 12 expected recruits, and you have the making of an exciting weekend.
This will be an opportunity for Coach Ellerson, who's been on a frantic pace since his hire Tuesday, where he has been putting together his coaching staff, assessing the current staff, connecting with recruits, evaluating highlights, embracing the USMAPS players, etc.; this weekend may actually be a welcome break in his schedule.
However, for the twelve recruits making their way this upcoming weekend to Army, this is also an evaluation period for them. They all have had sufficient time to digest the coaching change, and now it represents an opportunity to meet Coach Ellerson face to face, and make an assessment on his how they may fit into the Black Knights' football plans.
TEAMMATES & FRIENDS
Making their way this weekend from Seffner (FL) Armwood High School will be running back Matt Eastman and offensive line prospect, Justin Cabbagestalk. Eastman who hits the scales at 225 pounds (6-foot-1) is equally effective at running back or fullback, is being targeted as a fullback in the Black Knights system. Eastman is a physical player and takes pride in that aspect of his game. "I take pride in making my hits (blocks)," shares Eastman.
The tough running back will be making the trip to Army with a familiar and friendly face, in Armwood High School teammate, Cabbagestalk. "Justin and I are real good friends, but when it comes to picking a school, it's about best personal fit," declares Eastman, who made the decision to make his visit minus his parents. "I choose not to have my parents with me, although I value their opinion, it is really my decision."
For Cabbagestalk, who is a verbal commit to Vanderbilt, he is excited about his upcoming visit to Army. "West Point is a school I wanted to go to and the awe of the school, as well as the military piece as well, has me interested," shared the 6-foot-4, 270 pound offensive line prospect, who like Eastman, will be making the trip minus his parents.
It will take a strong showing on the part of Coach Ellerson and his staff to pull Cabbagestalk away from Vanderbilt, who he will be visiting the weekend of the 16th. However, it is clear that his visit is not for site seeing, but for fact finding, so the door is open and pulling in Cabbagestalk, along with Eastman would be huge for the Black Knights.
Speaking of huge, let's also add, "a major priority" for Coach Ellerson and his staff when speaking about three-star fullback, Justin Semmes. In Semmes' case, he may actually see an Army coach at his high school prior to his official visit. "Coach Waugh (Tucker) said they may try to come to my school and meet with me before my official visit," confirms Semmes, who remains a Army lean. "After my visit, I will come back and speak with my parents, and probably decide at that time."
In the same manner as Eastman and Cabbagestalk, the talented fullback will make the trip to West Point, unaccompanied.
Making his way from Pennsylvania will be offensive center prospect Matt Couch, who has added some weight to his now 6-foot-3 frame, where he checks in at 280 pounds. For Couch, he remains down to two schools
Army and Navy. Couch has indicated that he will most likely make his decision somewhere around signing day and is in the process of setting up an official visit with Navy,
This will be Couch's second visit to Army and he hopes to have a more in-depth viewing of the school this time around. "I was on campus this summer for an unofficial visit and it was great," states Couch. "I walked around and had a chance to check out the facilities, but on my official, I will be able to see the academic side and will be more informed."
One area of recruiting that Coach Ellerson has and will make priority is adding athleticism and speed to the recruiting class. Athletic quarterback Ortavious Hypolite will most likely get an opportunity within the triple option offense of Army to show what he can do, but he also has upside in almost all the skilled positions. "Army is recruiting me as a quarterback and other schools want me at safety," says the 6-foot-0, 205 pound prospect out of Orange (TX) West Orange-Stark High School. "I'm open to other positions and I can play most anywhere."
Completing the list of visitors this weekend is Army commit and hard hitting linebacker, Patrick Jarin, along with Texas natives Loren Baker (DL), Matt McBain (DL) and Wes Buehring (OL). Add to the list, defensive lineman Bijon Mostouti from Hawaii, defensive end Connor Randall from Georgia, offensive lineman Denny Train out of California.
Stay tuned to GoBlackKnights.com as we continue to focus on the Army recruiting class of 2009.
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