Coming off the high of an 11-2 season and back to back Commander-In-Chief’s trophy win, that success is in the rear view for Army football. And with summer workouts just now underway, coupled with the loss of seven impactful starters, we’re taking a look at the quarterback situation for the Black Knights.
Kelvin Hopkins Jr.
Even if you only watched one of the games Army played last year, this is a name you heard frequently. Hopkins made his debut during the 2018 season and has made a name for himself as the first player in Army history to complete more than 1,000 yards in both rushing and passing for a single season. His career-best 170 rushing yards on 11 carries during the Armed Forces Bowl against Houston was a performance to watch. In fact, his 77-yard TD rush during the first quarter was the longest run in Army’s bowl appearance history.
In hindsight, you might say with Hopkins starting, Army has almost nailed down this triple option offense to a science. What’s great about watching him play his versatility. The Black Knights are ranked first in the country in both possessions and 4th down conversions and second in rushing offense behind Georgia Tech, in part due to Hopkins ability to run and pass the ball. But with such a stellar performance, is there a dependence factor there that could hurt the Black Knights in the long run? With Darnell Woolfoolk, Andy Davidson, and Bryce Holland gone on to graduate, this means the relationship between Hopkins and ball carriers Kell Walker and Conner Slomka need to intensify.
In the Army, you’ll often hear the saying, “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” However, this team could face the opposite—being too comfortable.
“We talk to the guys about be that all the time—about how important it is to not let complacency creep in and start to feel like we’re winning because any other reason other than the fact that we play really hard and try really hard and care a lot about eachother,” said head coach Jeff Monken in an interview with Against All Enemies.
As it stands, Army has three options to rotate in the QB position event we seen an injury or simply, the coaching staff is just giving someone else an opportunity to start. Between Junior, Christian Anderson, and Sophomores, Jabari Laws and Tyhier Tyler, no one saw any action last season. It could be concerning to some as even Hopkins made an appearance during the first game of 2017 when then QB Ahmad Bradshaw was starting.
Laws saw time as a quarterback during the 2019 spring gamer where he scored from four yards out. Tyler also saw action during the game, culminating the end of spring practice.
For now, Cole Christiansen, Elijah Riley, and Kelvin Hopkins Jr.—all seniors, were named team captians for 2019. And while many await to see how Army can top last season’s performance we’ll also be looking at how the coaching staff continues to develop the next Black Knights quarterback.