Meet the New Mids: Slotbacks

Marcus Lewis

GoMids.com continues its look at this year's incoming freshman class by position. Navy's football staff has once again added speed and depth with the new slotback recruits. This slotback, A-Back, position is easily the most talented and deepest position on the team with both starters Gee Gee Greene and Aaron Santiago returning. GoMids.com will now look at the new Navy slotbacks.

Ken Niumatalolo and the Navy football staff have seemingly created a template in recruiting slotbacks in the mold of former Navy star Reggie Campbell. The last few years the Mids have recruited a number of short but very fast A-Backs.

Ryan Williams might be the closest slotback recruit in terms of ability to enter the academy since Campbell graduated. Williams was easily the most talented slotback last season at the Naval Academy Prep school and has the chance to be a special player. As a high school senior the 5-8, 170 pound player Pelham, Alabama product ran for 1,532 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns. He was a tremendous return man scoring four touchdowns on kick returns and also played cornerback picking off a pass. Williams earned All-county and All-region honors after his senior season. In 2008, as a junior, Williams posted 667 yards and five touchdowns on 87 carries. He added 433 yards and scored a touchdown on 47 receptions.

Williams, who runs a legit 4.4 forty yard dash, is roadrunner fast with electric quickness. He possesses instant acceleration, is explosive and very elusive. As a receiver Ryan is a terrific route runner with excellent hands. Ryan looks smaller than his listed size but showed his explosiveness in the comeback win over Army Prep when he took an option pitch 59 yards for a touchdown in the blink of an eye. Williams is small but not tiny or frail and is a hard worker in the weight room with great strength and solid build. Ryan is a very good cut blocker and excellent special teams player. He showed his athletic talent when he filled in at cornerback against Hudson Valley CC. Williams is also a very spiritual person and typical high character player that Navy looks to recruit. He chose Navy over offers from Colorado, Air Force, Army and Wofford.



Ruben Carson was the other starter at A-Back last year for the Naval Academy Prep school. Carson is a 5-8, 170 pound player from Birmingham, Alabama who starred at one of Alabama's best high school football programs, Hoover high school.

Carson is an excellent all-around athlete with speed, acceleration and quick feet. Carson always lowers his shoulder and finishes his run. A very good blocker at NAPS, he also has excellent hands and catches the ball well. Similar to Williams, he is small but muscular and is a hard worker in the weight room. Besides his ability one of the most impressive things about Ruben is that he is a smart kid with a terrific football I.Q. Arriving from a big time high school program he immediately picked up the system and was a mentor to the other A-backs. Carson rarely made any mistakes on the field.

Slotback Geoffrey Whiteside had a good season last year at Naval Academy Prep school. Whiteside is a 5-10, 177 pound player from Ohio who was a four year lettermen at Bishop Hartley High School. As a running back, wide receiver, return specialist and defensive back, Whiteside amassed almost 2,000 all-purpose yards in 2009. Geoff was named to first team All-Central District Team and Third Team All-Ohio his senior year.

At the Naval Academy Prep school last season Whiteside saw plenty of playing time. Whiteside had a terrific year both from the line of scrimmage and on punt returns. Geoff has above average speed, can block and has solid hands. Whiteside is a quick, tough, strong A-Back with the ability to make people miss. He is not as fast as the other members of this slotback class but he is a tough, physical runner and blocker.

Eric Johnson is a slotback who was a teammate of quarterback Greg Bryant at both NAPS and Jack Britt high school. As a high school senior Johnson (5-10, 185) had a tremendous year rushing 226 times for 1,922 yards, averaging 8.5 yards a carry and scoring 33 touchdowns. As a junior Eric had 137 carries for 1,237 yards while averaging nine yards a carry and scoring 17 touchdowns. His performances earned him First team All-Mid Southern and All-Conference honors in both 2008 and 2009.

At the Naval Academy Prep school Johnson was moved to cornerback due to the logjam at A-Back. Eric hurt his ankle early in season and missed most of the year. The plan is to move Johnson back to slotback at Navy. When healthy, Johnson is a home run threat with serious top end speed. He was hand timed running a 4.37 40-yard dash during a Duke football camp before his senior year. Johnson has the speed to get outside, turn the corner and make big plays. Due to the position move and his injury he is behind the other A-Backs in terms of development at this point of his career. He has the talent to help in the future. Johnson chose Navy over offers from Army, Wofford, North Carolina Central, Pembroke, and Fayetteville State.

Marcus Lewis is a 5-8, 170 pound slotback recruit from Florida. He was in the rotation last year at the Naval Academy Prep School and was a two-way player his senior season at North Fort Myers High School playing both running back and cornerback. In 2009 he split time in the backfield rushing 93 times for 510 yards for seven touchdowns while averaging 5.5 yards a carry. He was named to the Class 3A All-State team as a cornerback.

Lewis saw playing time at slotback at NAPS last year and played well. Marcus is a talented athlete with 4.4 speed in the forty yard dash. He possesses run skills, the ability to get to the edge and hit the seam. Unlike the other A-Backs in this class, Lewis is both short and small. He needs to build himself up physically and gain strength. Marcus also needs to improve his blocking. He'll need at least a year in the weight room before he can compete for a spot on the three deep depth chart.

There are no direct admits in this year's slotback class.

Next: A look at the new Mid wide receivers.

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