It's been nearly a week since the Army-Navy game, and recruits holding offers from both schools are…
Navy Commit Has All the Right Moves
"I love it," he went on explain. "They run the ball, and I'm a running back, so I like running the ball. It's definitely like a ‘perfect fit' for me."
Gully isn't just any running back. Named the Offensive Player of the Year in Wisconsin's Southeastern Conference, Gulley is coming off a 1,249 yard, 21 touchdown year on the ground in which he left opposing defenders gasping for breath. His 13 yards per carry bordered on unheard of even by prep standards, while Gulley could have had even better numbers had he not missed two games in 2011 with injuries.
It's no wonder, then, that eight Mid American Conference schools had extended scholarship offers to Gulley, and that several Big 10 teams were giving him serious attention despite his five-foot-seven, 185-pound frame. But in the end, only two schools stood out -- the Naval Academy, and his hometown Akron Zips. Navy, however, had something the Zips couldn't match: a top-flight, Ivy-League quality education.
"After doing my research about the Naval Academy and after looking at the education, it's basically an Ivy League education," Gulley explained. "You can't beat that, you just can't. I was really impressed with the educational opportunity I'll get there."
Gulley intends to take full advantage of that education, saying he intends to pursue an engineering degree while at the Academy before seeing where that opportunity "takes" him when it comes to a postgraduate service selection. As for the military component of the Naval Academy, Gulley said he feels comfortable with it, thanks largely in part to the experiences of his mother, who is active duty in the Navy and works with youth on the ROTC level.
A shifty back who displays almost freakish upper body strength, leg drive, and balance for his size, Gulley is universally recognized as one of the top players in the state by multiple recruiting services. He is currently ranked as the 126th best running back in the state according to Scout.com, and is a three-star recruit on Rivals.com. Rivals ranks Gulley as the third-best prospect in the entire state, while ESPN Scouts Inc. calls him the fifth best prospect in Wisconsin.
While he ran out of multiple one-back formations at Templer, Gulley has familiarity with multiple-back, option-oriented offenses like the kind Navy runs, and isn't concerned about losing a step while transitioning to the college game.
"When I first started playing I played at Akron-Garfield in Akron, Ohio," Gulley explained. "We ran the "T" – the three-back "T." It's kind of the same (as the flexbone). I'm kind of am familiar with the motions and running sideways and trying to get vertical, so I'm kind of familiar with that offensive scheme."
Gulley has been taking notice of Navy this year, tuning in for several Midshipmen games, including a loss to Notre Dame and a victory against Troy. He has not been able to visit the Academy, but said he plans to take an official visit in January. Curiously enough, Gulley was not offered scholarships from Army or Air Force, although he still hears interest from the Falcons.
"Air Force still sends letters, but that's it," Gulley said. "I guess I was under the radar with Army and Air Force."
Gulley was taken aback when asked whether or not he knew if he would be a direct entry recruit or a candidate for the Naval Academy Prep School, saying he didn't even know the Naval Academy had a prep school. Still, the two-way star is excited to join the Midshipmen community. He's even willing to part ways with his beloved dreadlocks in order to take his game – and his education – to the next level.
"I'm kind of attached to it, but if it has to come off, it has to come off," Gulley said, laughing. "I will be sad, but it's for a better cause."
Looking for more info on Navy running back commit Toneo Gulley? Check out Scout.com's highlight video for this explosive prospect! And stay tuned to GoMids all winter, as Navy recruiting writer Adam Nettina brings you the latest Midshipmen recruiting news and commitments.
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