Meet the New Mids: Defensive Line

Brice Musgrove continues its review of this year's incoming freshman class by position. Navy enters the 2011 season with two seniors starting on the defensive line. That includes team captain and the Mid's best defensive player in defensive end Jabaree Tuani.

While Tuani is a once a decade player for Navy, Ken Niumatalolo and his staff probably recruited the deepest and most talented defensive line class I can recall in my almost thirty years of following Navy football. will now take a look at the new Midshipmen defensive linemen.

Brice Musgrove is a 5-11, 275 pound defensive lineman from Texas. His senior year at Cedar Hill high school he posted 77 tackles and four sacks. For his efforts he was named first team All-District. As a junior he had even a better year with 77 tackles, 11 sacks and 21 tackles for a loss.

Last year at the Naval Academy Prep school Musgrove played both defensive end and inside at nose tackle and later defensive tackle when NAPS used a 4-3 front. He dominated at times and was named NAPS Defensive MVP. Brice has been compared to Jabaree Tuani. Musgrove is similar to Tuani in that he is a short, undersized lineman that bigger programs bypass. Despite his size he is powerful with great first step. Musgrove consistently demonstrates quickness, strong hands and strength at the point of attack. He has a non-stop motor and plays with maximum effort every down. He was a very good track athlete throwing the shot put over 48 feet and the discus 120 feet. However the comparison to Tuani is a little unfair because Musgrove lacks the flexibility and pure athleticism Tuani brings to the table. Musgrove, who chose Navy over offers from Air Force, Western Kentucky and Texas Southern, will most likely play nose guard at Navy.

Adrian Barnaby is a defensive tackle from Florida. Barnaby is 6-1 and weighs 275 pounds. Barnaby was a two way starter for Trinity Christian Academy in Deltona Florida. His senior year he produced 44 tackles. Barnaby moves well and is quick off the ball. He can bull rush and can generate a pass rush. He can neutralize and shed blockers when he plays low.

Like Musgrove, Barnaby played both defensive end and inside last year at the Naval Academy Prep school. Barnaby's skill set, because of his size, is actually better than Musgrove. The reason Adrian isn't as productive is because he is inconsistent and lacks Musgrove's non-stop motor. Last year Barnaby took too many downs off or lost his focus and played too tall allowing blockers to tie him up. If he pushes himself in the weight room and on the practice field he has the talent to be factor down the road.

Daniel Godkin (6-4, 230) was a three star recruit from Nevada in 2010. Godkin was ranked by as Nevada's second best high school player during the 2010 recruiting season. As a senior, Godkin played linebacker where he produced 105 tackles, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, two sacks and an interception. He was First Team All-State. As a junior he played defensive end recording 90 tackles, seven sacks and five fumble recoveries. Daniel was named Second Team All-State in 2008.

Last season at the Naval Academy Prep school he played defensive end. Godkin is a tall and rangy player with 4.7 speed in the forty yard dash. Godkin, who finished second at NAPS in sacks last season, uses his speed and reach to get up field and make negative plays behind the line of scrimmage. Godkin is a hard worker with good strength. He can be more consistent and needs to avoid the tendency to play too high. Daniel had some back issues which limited his offseason work but he is healthy now. Godkin was ranked by as the 67th best defensive end prospect in the country in 2010. Goodkin originally committed to Nevada before accepting an offer from Navy. He also had offers from UNLV, Wyoming and Northern Arizona.

Aaron Davis is a dominant two way lineman who played both offensive tackle and defensive tackle for Dawson high school in Peerland, Texas. Davis is 6-0, 265 pounds and was All-District and All-County his junior and senior years. Davis also impressed during the summer high school combines. Among his awards he earned in 2008 were the Schuman's National Underclassman Defensive MVP, Schuman's National Underclassman Strongest Man Award and the Stack Elite Defensive Lineman MVP. In 2009 he repeated as the Schuman's National Underclassman Strongest Man Award for bench pressing 185 pounds 38 times.

Last season at the Naval Academy Prep school Davis missed playing time with an injury but impressed when he played. Davis played defensive end at the Prep school but can also play nose tackle. While NAPS followers compare Brice Musgrove to Jabaree Tuani, I personally believe Aaron Davis is a better comparison. Aaron Davis is built like a boulder; he has great explosion, strength and an amazing first step quickness that requires double teams. He runs well for a big guy and is a very physical player who plays with great leverage. Davis dominated the Texas summer combine circuit when he was a recruit. It was reported, "He [Davis] was able to use his speed and power to get by any player trying to block him. Not only was he never stopped that day, but he was rarely ever slowed down. He's quick off the line and able to penetrate and disrupt plays in the backfield." Probably the only reason Navy was able to land him was that many programs considered him too short despite his production. Expect to see Davis tried at defensive end but he could move inside to nose guard or even offensive guard if needed.

Paul Quessenberry is a defensive lineman end from La Costa Canyon high school in California. Paul, whose brother plays at San Jose State, stands 6-2 tall and weighs 230 pounds. He played both defensive end and defensive tackle his senior year and recorded 10 sacks while earning First Team All-league honors.

At the Naval Academy Prep school Paul lived up to his reputation as a pass rushing specialist when he led NAPS in sacks despite missing time and the Army Prep game with a shoulder injury. Quessenberry is a natural pass rusher. He is explosively fast with an excellent takeoff and burst off the ball. Paul has very good speed. He hustles and chases relentlessly. Quessenberry is disruptive and can get up field quickly. Unlike some of the others mentioned, Quessenberry has a slim, athletic build and can add weight.

Dale Howard saw playing time as a defensive end last year for the Naval Academy Prep school. Howard (6-0, 275) is from Baxley, Georgia and played defensive tackle for Appling County High School. He was voted First Team All-State Georgia Class AA as a defensive tackle after his tremendous senior season.

Last year at NAPS was a transitional year for Howard. Dale is from a small school in the Deep South and everything initially from the new techniques, defensive schemes and military life might have over whelmed him initially. Like many of the defensive linemen last season at the Naval Academy Prep school, he missed time with injuries costing him valuable practice repetitions. Later in the season he showed his ability after replacing an injured Paul Quessenberry at defensive end. Against Army Prep he knocked USMAPS talented left tackle Tom Hickel out of the game early. Howard dominated Hickel's Army Prep backups and was virtually unblockable the rest of the game. Howard has plenty of natural ability. He is strong as an ox with and has a very quick initial burst off his mark. To be honest, Howard is probably the equal in natural ability to Musgrove, Davis and Barnaby but those players are more advanced because they played at a higher level in high school. Dale was as green as grass at the start of last season. He is still learning the game, his techniques and once the light eventually goes on watch out.

Vinny Rider (6-4, 260) was a three year starting nose guard and offensive tackle from the Plains high school in Ohio. His senior year he made 74 tackles, posted eight sacks, 18 tackles for loss, 11 hurries, two forced fumbles and made one fumble recovery. Rider was voted First Team All-State Defense and named Defensive Player of the Year.

Last year Rider was a backup defensive lineman who saw playing time when Naval Academy Prep school switched to a 4-3 defense early in the year because of injuries at linebacker and the surplus of talented defensive linemen. It illustrates the incredible depth of this year defensive line class that it took this long to discuss Rider. Vinny isn't as physically talented as those defensive lineman previously mentioned but he is a good player in his own right. He is a run plugger and a strong player who hard to move off the line. Last year Vinny was probably guilty of thinking too much regarding the new scheme and techniques he was taught. He failed to read and react as fast as he should. He has the ability to add weight to his frame and could play nose guard or defensive end. Rider has a very big upside once he puts everything together, adds weight and gains more experience.

Chris Nurthen is another backup defensive linemen who played at NAPS last season. Chris is the brother of current Navy inside linebacker John Michael Nurthen. Chris played both defensive end and tight end for the Great Valley high school in Pennsylvania.

Nurthen started last season at the Naval Academy Prep school as a outside linebacker in the standard Navy 3-4 defense. After injures decimated a thin linebacker corps, Chris was moved to defensive end when the coaches switched to a 4-3 defense. Chris is 6-3, and weighs 226 pounds. He is a dedicated player who works hard and competes. Nurthen, who has average movement skills and range, isn't very physical and at times struggled taking on and shedding blockers. He needs to spend time in the weight room to get bigger and stronger. Chris has ability but like his brother it may take a few years to make his presence felt on the depth chart. He has played Raider linebacker and defensive end at NAPS but inside linebacker may eventually prove to be a better fit for his skill set.

There were three direct admits all from Florida in this year's class who took the oath on I-Day. Isaiah McElrath was a three year starter at defensive tackle at Pace high school in Florida. McElrath is a 6-2, 280 defensive tackle who made 54 tackles and recorded five sacks last season. McElrath whose father, Kevin, is a Navy veteran, was a two star recruit who offers good size, strength and overall athletic ability.

Another direct admit defensive lineman is Allen Caldwell from Crestview High School in Florida. Caldwell (6-3, 250) is a good athlete who plays a variety of positions on offense from tight end, fullback and tailback at Crestview. On defense he played linebacker and defensive end. Caldwell has above average speed and moves well for his size. Allen won the tight end MVP award at a Florida high school combine camp after his junior year.

Caldwell will play defensive end for Navy. Allen offers good size, mobility, balance and athleticism. He was a physical player on both sides of the ball as a high school player. Caldwell, who was featured as an offensive player most of his high school career, is rather inexperienced at defensive end and needs to learn the position. Caldwell chose the Naval Academy over offers from Florida International and Eastern Michigan among others.

Daniel Ring is another Florida defensive end recruit. Ring played defensive end, tight end and long snapper for Cardinal Gibbons high school. Dan, who is 6-2 and weighs 270 pounds, had a tremendous senior season when he made 73 tackles, including 17 for a loss and posted 12 1/2 sacks. For his performance Ring was named Second Team 2A All-State on the defensive line. Ring has very good instincts and technique. He reads and reacts well, has good initial quickness and can slip blocks. Ring has above average speed and movement skills. Ring showed his strength at a Florida high school combine before his senior season when he benched presses 185 pounds 29 times. He chose Navy over offers from Air Force, Penn, Brown and Columbia and Lehigh.

Next: Meet the new Mids Linebackers Recommended Stories