July 2, 2011
GBK: Introducing three new Black Knights
With 2/3 of the Class of 2011 already onboard at West Point via the USMAPS (2010) and direct admissions, there remains the "last, but surely not least" group that will make up this year's class.
Sound confusing? Well, it can be and that is uniqueness of coaching and recruiting for the Black Knights of Army. Head Coach Rich Ellerson and his staff must manage a triad of prospects for each class.
1. The prospects that are entering West Point directly (from high school)
2. The prospects that are entering West Point from the USMAPS (class of 2010).
3. The prospects who will be entering the USMAPS (class of 2011).
There will be 42 players who will be making their way to the prep school ... some GBK has covered and then there are those that flew under the radar and/or were late additions to the class.
GoBlackKnights.com had a chance to catch up with three such players this week, all of whom will be hitting the West Point campus in July.
Taylor Harrison, OL
Taylor Harrison was out in the field Friday afternoon, getting work done for his parent's on their 20-acre farm in Lincolnville, Me. He was repairing some fences, just being a good son as he prepares to leave Maine in a couple of weeks for the United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) on the West Point grounds.
Harrison and the other Prep student/athletes will arrive in mid July to prepare for the rigorous academic, physical and military challenges in addition to the upcoming football season.
Harrison and soon-to-be classmates and teammates like Isaac Neumann and Alberto Barrios can't wait to get going.
Harrison graduated from Rockport (ME) Camden Hills High School. where he was a left tackle behind quarterback Collin Downs, who is a direct admit and part of the class that arrived last weekend for R-Day. Linwood Downs, Colin's father, was one of the people who helped market Harrison, when he sent film to Army coaching staff.
Harrison said he considered Fork Union Military prep school in Virginia.
"I was going to take that one until this one. Army? You can't pass that up,'' said the 6-foot-3, 275-pound Harrison, who is also an alpine ski racer and lacrosse player.
Harrison and Downs live down the street from each other and have grown up together on the football field. Camden Hills was just in its second year of varsity play last fall, recording a 4-4 record. Harrison said he and Downs basically were the pillars of the program. That dedication will be one of the traits the two bring to West Point and the Black Knight's football program.
"I think they (Army coaches) saw a kid who works hard and pushes for it on every play,'' said Harrison when asked what kind of scouting report he'd give himself. "I'm going to be an officer and I'm excited and proud to serve my county. I'm willing to work for it.''
Isaac Neumann, LB/FB
The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Neumann will come to USMAPS as someone who has shown he can adjust. He moved from offensive guard to fullback on offense last season for Somerset (WI) Somerset High School. He played middle linebacker as well. He missed the season's first two games after he was in a car accident, but recovered to help the team to an 8-3 season.
"I have pretty good explosivenesses,'' he said. ""I tackle pretty well, I have speed and I close fast.''
Neumann will come to West Point with some idea of the system.'' Bruce Larson, Neumann's coach all four seasons, chose to go to the Army offense last year.
"Our whole team adopted the Army value system, selfless service, honor, loyalty, duty, respect, integrity and courage,'' said Neumann, whose family lives in Richmond (WI). "And our whole offense is a mirror image of Army's (triple option). Coach Larson knew coach (Ian) Shields and (Payaam) Sadaat when they were at Cal Poly.''
Neumann also said he loved the idea of getting familiar with West Point through the Prep school.
"It's like a redshirt year,'' he said, adding that teammate Jeremy Kelly will be a freshman at the Air Force Academy. "And we'll still be playing a full schedule.''
Alberto Barrios, DE
Racing after quarterbacks and taking them to the ground is what Alberto Barrios is known to do with frequency. The defensive end had a lot of interest from University of Texas at El Paso and Northern Mexico State, but chose to come to West Point.
"I really never saw myself anywhere but in Texas,'' said the 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end, who starred at El Dorado High. "But Army is just different, a different kind of school. There's so much history and you see the challenge ahead. When you leave West Point, you are pretty much the best in anything you do.''
As for what sets him apart from other football players?
"It's my determination to make a tackle, no matter what kind or wherever I'm on the field,'' he said.
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