Sir, there are…
We’re getting into the defense this week, and honestly, it was a little tougher to come up with this list than it was to come up with the list on offense. First, because the defense returns more starters than the offense, and second, because all four of this year’s captains come from the defensive side of the ball.
I mean, sure, we could say, “Hey! You should watch LB Arik Smith.” And yeah, that’s true. But Smith is a team captain heading into his third year as a starter. I mean, obviously he’s a player to watch. He’s arguably the best player on the team! Considering the number of recent Army linebackers who’ve gotten looks in the NFL, it’s worth wondering where Smith will get drafted, assuming he can stay healthy and keep bringing the heat.
That’s not the point of this list. And yet, on a defense with this many returning starters, it’s hard not to pull a couple that you probably already knew you needed to watch.
— Brandon Reyes (@CoachBReyes) April 17, 2021
S Marquel Broughton
“America’s Safety” Marquel Broughton is a prime example. It’s probably not fair to put a team captain on this list, but this man was voted a captain as a cow by his teammates. That is a huge accomplishment. Let’s take a minute to talk about what a stud this guy can be on the field.
Broughton played in 9 games as a plebe in 2019; he played in all 12 in 2020. Last year, he recorded 67 tackles, including 40 solo, plus 2 interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Friends, that is a lot.
Broughton’s ability to both play the pass and come down into run support is a huge part of what makes this defense go. Truth is, we know you’re gonna be watching Marquel Broughton. He’ll be right in the heart of the action.
Only the Beginning ?⚡️ pic.twitter.com/auE8CJBzeB
— Marquel Broughton (@M_Broughton2) May 7, 2021
DL Kwabena Bonsu
DL Kwabena Bonsu is another guy who, really, you should already know you need to watch. He played in 4 games as a plebe in 2018, recording 3 tackles. He then played in all 12 games in 2019, recording 33 tackles, 14 solo, plus 2 fumble recoveries, 6 tackles-for-loss and 2 sacks. Last year, he again played in 10 games, recording 15 tackles, 5 solo, plus 2 tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, and a critical pass-defensed to close out the game against Air Force.
So yeah. Bonsu is a playmaker. He has been for a good, long while now.
What’s interesting about Bonsu is that he plays along the D-Line, not traditionally a position of strength for the Black Knights. Army doesn’t usually get great D-Linemen. It’s just not easy to get guys with the size and strength to make a legit difference up front at a service academy. Dudes like that are not necessarily signing up for Academy Calculus and a two-mile run.
But Bonsu has proven repeatedly with his play that he is that guy. He’s a 6’4”, 280 lbs. dude who smokes people. In fact, he has consistently been one of the fastest big men on the team all off season. That is awesome.
— Jeff Monken (@CoachJeffMonken) March 3, 2021
OLB Andre Carter II
Andre Carter II is one of the most intriguing players on the Army defense. Recall that it was Carter who became a hero against Georgia Southern, putting up both a blocked kick and a critical interception late to both start the rally and then help ice the game in its closing minutes. In fact, Carter played in 10 games last season, mostly on special teams, recording 14 total tackles, 9 solo, plus 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass-defensed to go with that critical interception and blocked kick against the Eagles.
Folks, this man is a 6’5”, 265 lbs. outside linebacker who is finally in line to get regular playing time. We saw flashes of his ability last year. This year, we expect he’ll be a mainstay of the Army defense.
— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) November 21, 2020
OLB Fabrice Voyne
Like Carter, OLB Fabrice Voyne is another perennial special teams player looking to make a consistent impact on defense this year. Originally recruited as a 3-star safety, Voyne is still just a rising cow, but he has already played a Hell of lot of impact football for the Black Knights.
Voyne appeared in 10 games in 2019 and 11 in 2020, recording 15 total tackles, 8 solo, along with a tackle-for-loss, a blocked kick, and a punt return for 13 yards.
Listed at 6’2″, 240 lbs., Voyne has always been a terrific player. Now, though, he’s making waves in the weight room, too. Having moved out of a crowded secondary down to linebacker, he ought to get more opportunities on the actual defense. He could very easily become an impact player in 2021.
— Army Football Strength (@ArmyFB_Strength) June 21, 2021
DE Ryan Duran III
Rising firstie Ryan Duran III is another guy looking to make an impact on defense. Duran stands 6’5″; he’s listed at 270. He played all 12 games last season with 16 tackles, 7 solo, plus 2.5 sacks.
Honestly, he seemed to play better every time he got an opportunity.
It looks like Duran is going to take over for Amadeo West. Those aren’t easy shoes to fill, but Duran has played well every time he’s gotten the chance. Plus, he’s been hitting it hard in the weight room this summer. We think you’re going to be hearing his name a lot this fall.
Former Pine-Richland defensive lineman Ryan Duran III has been carving a role out for himself over the past few years in West Point.https://t.co/TLHYpyDC9z
— Tribune-ReviewSports (@TribSports) December 29, 2020
That’s all for this week.
Go Army! Beat Georgia State!!!
* Pics via Flickr: West Point – The U.S. Military Academy.