March 19, 2012

Spring Forward: The Cornerbacks

Spring Forward: The Cornerbacks

The poet John Dunne wrote that, "no man is an island, entire of himself, but every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.", but with all due respect to Mr. Dunne, he never played cornerback at the Division I level.

The countdown to the post spring practice position assessment moves on as looks at each position and how it currently stands. It's time to switch from defense tackle to break down the cornerback position which looks to be a strong one heading into the fall training camp.

Let's take a glimpse Inside the Huddle at the cornerback and where the players have positioned themselves after the completion of spring practice.

The Contenders

Josh Jackson, Sr.
Tyler Dickson, Jr.
Waverly Washington, Sr.

Spring Practice Rewind

Down in Fort Benning (Ga.) the guys finally got a chance to play, really play and senior field corner, Josh Jackson played very well. Clearly Jackson is taken on the challenged presented to him during spring ball not only to raise his game, but provide weekly game day consistency come the fall. If Jackson continues to play that physical, demonstrate the run support that he did during the spring game this upcoming season ... this defense will be that much better. Of course, what was seen during the Black & Gold game is the potential that the staff has seen in Jackson from the time he became a Black Knight, but for whatever the reason, the lightbulb has truly turned on this spring for the Lawrenceville (Ga.) native and two year started.

Converted free safety, Tyler Dickson is playing opposite Jackson at the boundary corner spot. In the spring game, Dickson showed that he is becoming more comfortable in his transition of playing on the island.

Rounding out the top three is senior Waverly Washington, who did to play in the spring game due to a slight sprain, where it was the staff's decision to hold him out of the yearly pre-season game. Despite missing "the game", Washington had a productive spring.

The Competition

The competition looks to be limited to the two-deep as Jackson and Dickson would need to have disastrous summer camps to lose their starting spots. Both improved over the course of spring, although Washington is waiting in the wings.

So for that 4th Corner, well, this is a category that could fall under, TBD (to be determine). But there are several guys in the mix that could round out that 4th cornerback for 2012.

Marques Avery - It was good see Avery out there during the spring game, where it appears that he has dusted off some of the rust from being idle the past year and a half. Technically, the sophomore out of Pasco (Wa.), has not played football since he committed to the Black Knights. During the spring game, the 6-foot-1, 180 pound corner received tons of reps and he really got after it, along with doing some things that caught the staff's attention.

Avery missed last season with a shoulder injury suffered during summer practice in 2011, and only played 2 games at USMAPS. Currently, Avery is playing the field corner, but because of his size and aggressive play, he could easily play boundary. Don't be surprise to see Avery utilized at both corner spots, once he has become comfortable at field.

Of course you have L.J. Harris, who was the primary started opposite Jackson in 2011, but who is now receiving competition for that 4th corner spot from Avery, along with James Whittington. You can also add to the list of names incoming freshmen Cortland Fort and Chris Carnegie. Both will provide immediately competition upon their arrival this summer from the USMAPS.

This summer will also be a time to build for the future. That will make for a competition among the younger Black Knights, particularly Fort and Carnegie.

Come fall practice, there will be some serious battles taking place as the staff will attempt to put together the cornerback rotation.

Army's recent opening day starting Cornerbacks

2011 - Josh Jackson, L.J. Harris
2010 - Antuan Aaron, Josh Jackson
2009 - Antuan Aaron, Richard King
2008 - Mario Hill, Antuan Aaron

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