BBD Writer Eric Samulski
This is a little bit of David versus Goliath. Arizona State may not be a true national Goliath but playing in the Pac-12 gives them a competitive advantage over the Midshipmen, who put up wins against teams like Texas State, Florida Atlantic, and VMI this year. Arizona State was never able to knock off the giants in the Pac-12, but they ended the season with a solid win over Arizona and have a run defense that should be able to contain Navy’s option attack. On offense, Taylor Kelly, Jamal Miles, and Cameron Mitchell may simply be too quick for the Midshipmen to handle.
Matt Warrick LB 6’2” 230 #51 Senior
A strong athlete, Warrick has been the Midshipmen’s leading tackler for the last two years. He doesn’t have ideal NFL size, but he’s an instinctive football player and recognizes plays early. When he does, he closes and tackles with fundamentally sound technique. He’s also proven to be solid in coverage, breaking up ten passes over the last two seasons and intercepting three this year. He may be too small to make it as an impact player at the next level, but he’s the type of player who can be a solid reserve and special teams leader.
Keegan Wetzel OLB 6’3” 220 #48 Senior
Navy’s leading sack artist, Wetzel has made his year in the backfield this season. He paces the team with 15 tackles for a loss and seven sacks. He’s slightly larger than Warrick, who mans the other side of the field, and has slightly less quickness, but Wetzel packs the similar athleticism and instincts.
Gee Gee Greene RB 5’8” 185 #21 Senior
Brandon Turner WR 6’4” 225 #86 Senior
Tra’ves Bush SS 5’10” 190 #9 Senior
Jamal Miles WR/KR 5’10” 185 #32 Senior
An interesting prospect for his speed and return abilities, Miles could carve out a role as a Dexter McCluster-type or a Percy Harvin-lite at the next level. He hasn’t flashed statistically this season, but has three kick-off return touchdowns and one punt return touchdown in his career at Arizona State. He’s been lined up everywhere on the field, including in the backfield, and has a shiftiness in space that translates at any level.
Brice Schwab OT 6’7” 300 #71 Senior
A top JuCo prospect two years ago, who chose the Sun Devils over other more reputable suitors, like USC, Schwab saw his star fade upon his arrival to the FBS due to conditioning and work ethic issues. However, he is athletic for a man his size and seems to have taken a more dedicated approach to the game this season. At 6’7” 300 pounds, with room to add bulk, and two years removed from playing elite football, Schwab could intrigue as a third day RT with starter upside.
Brandon Magee OLB 6’0” 230 #8 Senior
Magee was outplaying Vontaze Burfict headed into last year before he tore his Achilles and missed the season. Over a year removed from the injury, he’s already the Sun Devils leading tackler with 104, including 11.5 tackles for a loss. He plays with impressive speed, attacking the line of scrimmage and working sideline-to-sideline. He’s also solid in coverage, racking up two picks this year and showing the hip turn to stay with tight ends. The problem for Magee is his size. He’s too small to hang with tight ends in the NFL, so he’ll need to prove that he can shed blocks and make an impact in the run game if he wants to stick on an NFL roster. If he can, small ‘backers (Lavonte David, Mason Foster) have been able to rack up tackles in the NFL.
Cameron Marshall RB 5’11” 215 #6 Senior
Keelan Johnson FS 6’1” 210 #10 Senior
Will Sutton DT 6’1” 270 #90 Junior
Rashad Ross WR 6’0” 170 #15 Senior
Alden Darby FS 5’11” 190 #4 Junior
Andrew Sampson OG 6’4” 300 #72 Senior
Prediction: Arizona State 34 Navy 20