On Sunday (6/10) when the Upstate & Downstate squads take the field in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University for 3rd Annual Empower Federal Credit Union All Football Class, the Army Black Knights will be well represented.
On the Downstate team you have DE, Alex Cauley and on the Upstate side of the ball, you have the crew of RB/LB, Andrew King, LB, Kyle Ricciardi and CB, Steven Johnson.
The Army Brand
Since they stepped foot on the campus of the Orangemen, the future Black Knights' quartet have been sporting around in their Army football apparel and advertising their college destination for all to see during their stay in the Syracuse dorms, as well as the football facilities.
"I guess we are all a little bit proud of our accomplishment and being able to show that we are getting to play for Army," offers Cauley, who says he can't wait to get back onto the playing. "We all just wear our stuff to showcase it, you know. We didn't organize it that way, it just happen."
"When the players saw me in my gear, they would as what college we are going to and ask if that's West Point," declares King who is out of Queens (NY) Flushing High School. "Of course I said yes it is and they ask questions about what that's all about."
"Oh no, I had to represent the school that I know that I going to love," says future Army cornerback, Steven Johnson. "Me and Andrew planned to wear the stuff, but I think everyone is proud that they are going to West Point and wanted to represent."
Of course, the hometown Orangemen have their own solid representation in Syracuse commits. "Devante McFaralane and Omari Palmer were wearing their Syracuse hats and shirts," says Army commit, Andrew King, who shared that there is one more Orangeman scheduled to participate. "Also Wayne Morgan is suppose to be coming either tomorrow or Sunday."
On Friday, GoBlackKnights.com caught up with each of the future Black Knights to discuss their upcoming All-Star game, bonding together prior to hitting the West Point campus for Reception Day and more.
I guess we are all a little bit proud of our accomplishment and being able to show that we are getting to play for Army.
- Army commit & defensive end, Alex Cauley
Needless to say, the players have been practicing hard the past two days and were given the day off as they took in the Syracuse Chief's AAA baseball game Friday evening.
"We have two more practices before the game on the 10th," shares Cauley from his dorm room at Syracuse University as he discussed the bonding that has taking place with his future college teammates.
"Through Facebook, we knew that the four of us would be playing in the game. So, we were already getting to know each other by talking on Facebook and it came up in conversation that we were going to play in this all-star game."
At 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, the USMAPS bound defensive end is the only future Black Knight not on the downstate all-star squad. "I'm on the upstate team and Andrew, Steven and Kyle are on the downstate team," shared Cauley, who enjoyed blending with his future teammates, despite the fact that they will playing opposite each other on Sunday.
"I arrived late Wednesday evening and when I first saw him, I was like oh no, that's Alex," says a chuckling King relative to Cauley's size.
"Since we were at the baseball game this evening, we had a chance to click, chill and started to talk about what going to happen when we get there (West Point), our equipment, the boots we have to get ... just making conversation," adds Cauley. "Just talking to the guys, can't wait to get it started ... our five year brotherhood."
Johnson arrived on Wednesday, where he knew it would great to connect with his future teammates, even if one was not on his all-star squad. "I knew the guys would be here through our Facebook connection," Johnson said. "Me, Kyle and Andrew King are on the down state and Alex is on the upstate team. Actually, Kyle's locker is next to mine."
All-Star Game & Army Ready
"We don't really have a starting line-up just yet," Cauley states. "I've been taking reps with the 1st & 2nd squads, just to work with everybody. Actually, I've been working with Andrew (King) a lot, because he's playing outside linebacker. We've doing a lot of drills together, I've talking to him .... eating lunch and breakfast."
Yes, King who is projected as a fullback in Army's triple option offense, but on Sunday he will be lining up on the defensive side of the ball. "They have me playing at Sam backer," says the 6-foot-0, 210 pounds, who says he can't wait to back into a real football game. "I'm very excited about this game and I get to play football again."
As it has been with King, Johnson out of Newburgh (NY) has been given the opportunity to get a feel outside his customary cornerback spot. "They are going to be rotating me between safety and corner, but mostly this week I've getting reps at corner," says Johnson.
Like his future teammates, the 6-foot-2, 218 pound Ricciardi out of Hudson (NY) Croton-Harmon can't wait to make his way to the West Point campus. "I'm looking forward to getting started at Army and playing in this all-star game is a good way to prepare for it," he says in closing.
Each player has been working hard for their upcoming Army football and West Point journey. "I have a couple weeks left to prepare for starting at West Point, so I want to make sure that I'm as ready as possible," says Ricciardi, who will be manning the middle linebacker spot of the downstate team.
"I'm in pretty good football shape ... It's not mid-season form, but I'm in good shape," says King.
Essentially Sunday's All-Star contest has the NYC, Long Island and surrounding areas versus New York State.