As GoBlackKnights.com mentioned in our January 22nd article ("QB Beck commits to Army ... who will be next?"), Last season's recruiting class saw Army receive a stable of quarterback commitments
seven to be exact. Of those seven, we saw Indiana Player of the Year, Paul McIntosh separate himself from the academy during the first quarter of the season; where it was clear to him that West Point wasn't for him. Spencer Otto never made it on campus because he did not qualify medically and Demetrius Richardson lost his enthusiasm on the field, as well as in the classroom after losing the starting role and eventual playing time at the prep school to Trent Steelman, whereby the typically enthusiastic Richardson left the USMAPS.
It remains clear that there is always a need to get commitments both in quality and quantity, or at least a minimum of three and two quarterbacks for the Black Knights and the prep school rosters respectively.
Once signing day concluded, it appeared that quality was not the issue, as both Chris Beck and Cody Jackson officially signed with the Black Knights.
However, the quantity concern remained and subsequent days after signing day had past, so were such prospects as Austin Dantin, Ortavious Hypolite, Caleb Knights, Kenneth Cluley, and Heath Parling.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
Patience (pā-shəns) is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain,..
So as Coach Ellerson and staff exercised recruiting patience, as well as sourcing out talent that could ultimately fit into Army's offensive scheme, other valued names like Zach Williams, Miles Freeman and Zerick Rollins surfaced.
2 OUT OF 3
For Williams who took his official visit to Army the weekend of the 13th, as well as an unofficial the weekend prior to Air Force ... the decision to commit to Army was a slam dunk. "My official to Army was awesome ... I loved it," shares the 5-foot-10, 200 pound signal caller. "I enjoyed being around the coaching staff ... I related to them and meshed well with them. The whole place was fantastic and in the end, I felt that it would make me a better man."
During his visit, the Melissa (TX) Melissa High School prospect was hosted by fellow quarterback and freshman, Josh Jones. "He's a great guy and us information on West Point," states Williams, who was joined on his visit by his parents, brother and sister-in-law.
For Williams, in selecting Army over Air Force, it wasn't an easy decision, because he stated to GBK.com, that he really liked the Falcons' coaching staff and even the players, but for him it was more than just football. He indicated that it was his eventual branch, the people - meaning the style of living (wider variety of what he would like to do and study), the history of West Point and yes, Army football.
It was that feeling that allowed for Williams to commit to Coach Ellerson during his visit.
At Melissa High School, Williams was coached by his father, who is both the AD and head football coach, along with his brother Joe, who was his quarterback coach. When GBK.com reminded Joe that Zach scenario (father-dad-brother) was similar to that of former Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm, Joe responded and laughed. "That's why Zach is ready to get out of here."
When Sacramento (CA) Luther Burbank High School coach John Heffernan speaks about quarterback Miles Freeman, you can feel the excitement in his voice. Yes, not only hear it, but feel it. "Miles is a do everything - hard-nose football player," says the enthusiastic Heffernan. "He's intelligent, smart and smooth."
Like Williams, meeting with Coach Ellerson and staff, along with seeing Army football and West Point up close and personal for Freeman was the final selling point. "While the others recruits were toured, I had a nice conversation with Coach Ellerson," shares the 6-foot-1, 200 pound prospect. "He said that he had been watching me since my junior year and likes how I play and compete. He was open and honest, told me who I would be competing with at the prep school. He's going to turn this program around for sure."
Another quarterback who was hot on the Black Knights' list was Rollins, who along with Army, had offers from Northwestern, Air Force and Rice University.
According to his head coach, David Suggs, Northwestern wanted him at wide receiver, but Rollins wanted to at least be given a shot out the gate at quarterback.
So it came down to Army and Air Force, and the talented athlete was impressed by both schools, but eventually committed to Air Force.
ROUND PEG - ROUND HOLE
It is crystal clear that many of the attributes that Coach Ellerson is looking for in his quarterback prospects, both Williams and Freeman possess. Each player is athletic, above average speed (Freeman ran a 4.6 Nike Combine), physical (Williams looks like a strong safety) and both are a fit for Ellerson's triple option offense.
"Miles has run our triple option offense for three years," shares Coach Heffernan. "Quarterback is the reason that he committed to Army, but honestly, he could play safety or wide receiver."
"I would love to play quarterback, but I don't care where I play, I just like playing, running the ball and hitting too," declares Freeman. "My coaches use to tell me to run out of bounds, but I just loved going helmet to helmet with guys."
Similarly, Williams adjustment to the triple option would be minimum and also could fit into other skilled positions with the Black Knights. "We ran the spread at our school, but Zach is more suited for the triple option," shares brother-coach, Joe. "He could make it at quarterback in that offense ... he throws his best ball on the run and we played similar to what Coach Ellerson runs."
Although Williams will get an initial look at quarterback, the coaching staff was candid with him about the possibility of playing elsewhere. "The staff told me that I could end up at linebacker or fullback, but I would be starting off at quarterback," confirms Williams.
Williams first stop will be at the USMAPS.
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