WEST POINT, N.Y. Army head coach Rich Ellerson welcomed the newest members of the Black Knights' football program into the fold on Monday as he announced his club's 2009 recruiting class.
Nineteen recently graduated high school student-athletes and 38 others that attended the U.S. Military Academy Prep School last year help comprise the football-playing members of West Point's Class of 2013 that arrived at the Military Academy for Reception Day activities on Monday.
"We're encouraged by the group of young men that we're bringing into the program," stated Ellerson. "We inherited a great group coming from the Prep School, and then we were able to add to that group a couple handfuls of players directly from high school. We were able to come into (the recruiting process) at the 11th hour, and despite all the disruption, put together a very competitive class.
"Obviously, we're going to find out a lot more about them here in the next six weeks. We're very encouraged by the class coming up from the Prep School, the success that they've had and how well they weathered the coaching transition. They stayed together, encouraged one another, trained well and are used to winning. It will be exciting to get them on the field and see where they are physically. We're also excited about many of the players we brought in directly from high school. Everybody's undefeated on signing day, but it is very encouraging that we could put a class together that has so many quality people, quality athletes that can succeed at this level on the football field, and are exactly the right kind of young men that West Point is looking for."
The group of signees includes 23 offensive standouts, 31 defensive players and three specialists. Heading the positional breakdown is defensive line where Ellerson and his staff have injected 13 newcomers, followed by offensive line (10), linebacker (9), defensive back (9), running back (7) and wide receiver (5).
Twenty-seven different states are represented in the class. Florida, a recruiting stronghold for the Army football program, leads the way with eight newcomers, followed by Texas with seven, and Pennsylvania and Georgia with five apiece. North Carolina and California boast four new Black Knights each, while Missouri features three and New York, Ohio, Maryland, Alabama and Virginia own two apiece.
"Our team speed will be impacted by this group in a positive way," Ellerson added. "It's hard to know how guys are going to compete, but there are individuals in every positional group that you can anticipate getting into the mix early. You don't have to sit back and wait for two years. In every group there is a guy or two that looks like they will have a chance to compete for playing time relatively early. When we get them going, we're going to find out that some of the players that we had that expectation for aren't close and there's somebody we're not thinking about right now that is going to be extraordinary. That's just the nature of the beast with football."
Included in Army's Class of 2013 is local product Ben Jebb, a 6-5, 215-pound defensive end from nearby Cornwall, N.Y., and Kyle Ulses, son of former Army letterwinner Rob Ulses (West Point 85), who lettered three times for the Black Knights and was a member of Army's Cherry Bowl-winning squad in 1984. Twin brothers Jarrett and A.J. Mackey, a pair of defensive linemen from Snellville, Ga. and USMA Prep School graduates, are also included in the Black Knights' newest class.
Army opens its 120th season of intercollegiate competition on Saturday, Sept. 5 when the Black Knights visit Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m. Army opens its home slate the following week, hosting Duke (Sept. 12) on Army Sports Hall of Fame Weekend at West Point. Amongst those being inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame that weekend is former Army men's basketball coach and current Duke mentor Mike Krzyzewski.
Full season, mini-plan and single-game tickets for all Army home contests are currently on sale at the Army Ticket Office, by phone at 1-877-TIX-ARMY or online by clicking here. Full season ticket packages in a special section dubbed "Coach E's Army," begin at just $99 for lower-deck seating locations in Michie Stadium. Fans purchasing tickets in that section also receive a special "Coach E's Army" T-shirt.