Recently, there was a heated discussion among service academy fans regarding which school was “Fullback U”. Here at Against All Enemies we have decided to create a new series where we review our “Top 5” or “Top 10” position groups over a certain time period.
Given that the fullback position is one of the most critical positions in order to properly execute the triple-option, we decided to start the series with a bang and review the Top 10 fullbacks over the last two decades.
10. Cole Fagan - Air Force
Cole Fagan is an anomaly in this list due to his limited time in the spotlight. Fagan simply came out of nowhere and stole the show that was the Falcon offense in 2018. He was a magician on the field with his ability to break tackles and find holes to earn a first down. If it weren’t for his off-field issues, he may have had one of the best senior seasons in recent Air Force fullback history.
9. Andy Davidson - Army West Point
While I always endeavor to avoid or limit any sort of “recency bias”, I had to admit that Andy Davidson’s dominance over the 2016-2018 seasons is at the forefront of my mind. Davidson was instrumental in ending the 14-game losing streak against Navy. Jeff Monken’s turn-around years were coincident with Davidson’s prime years, and for that, he earns a spot on the list.
8. Wes Cobb - Air Force
Wes Cobb, a 2013 graduate of Air Force, played a crucial role in the Falcons early 2010s run and solid success in the Mountain West. Cobb carried the ball 231 times over his junior and senior seasons, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. The efficiency of this large volume of carries shows how good Cobb was over those two years.
7. Noah Copeland - Navy
What many people don’t know about Noah Copeland was that he had the tall task of taking over for Alexander Teich. Teich was the emotional leader for Navy and willed them to victory game-after-game. While Copeland was a less vocal leader, he made up for it with his on-field play. Copeland amassed 2,033 in essentially three years of play. Furthermore, his numbers were limited due to sharing key carries with fellow fullback Chris Swain and star quarterback, Keenan Reynolds.
6. Darnell Woolfolk - Army
Darnell Woolfolk was part of the one-two punch with Davidson just a few years ago. However, it was Woolfolk that took the primary fullback role in 2018 and led Army to an 11-2 record. In just three years, Woolfolk found the endzone 37 times. 28 of those touchdowns came in his junior and senior year. There’s no doubt Woolfolk left his mark on many linebackers who met him up the middle.
5. Chris Swain - Navy
If you’ve ever met Chris Swain in person, you would quickly understand why they called him the “Swain Train”. The man was 6’1” and 250 pounds of pure muscle. I once watched him peak at over 26 miles per hours while sprinting on a self-paced treadmill. Again, he was 250 pounds! Swain saw the playing field all four years at Navy and earned himself some preseason time with the Chargers, scoring in one of the games. Swain shared his time as a Midshipmen with Copeland for his first three years, and all four years with Keenan Reynolds. In his senior season, he posted 1,023 yards and 10 touchdowns.
4. Larry Dixon - Army
Larry Dixon is a legend in the fullback room at West Point. Despite the team struggling on offense, Dixon was one of the most reliable and consistent players while he was on the team. In three of his four years at Army, he averaged at least 6 yards per carry. Dixon shared first-team reps from freshman year on, missing only a couple of games. He finished his career with 3,198 yards and 26 touchdowns.
3. Eric Kettani - Navy
Although Eric Kettani was unable to play in the NFL immediately after graduating from Navy, he was able to work his way back into football shape after serving on active-duty, and made the New England Patriots’ practice squad in 2011. For the next four years, Kettani bounced around the league. As a Midshipmen, Kettani started for three years and never missed a game during those seasons. His incredible durability, both in college and in the NFL, is one of the most valuable traits in a service academy fullback.
2. Collin Mooney - Army
Collin Mooney only really started to shine at Army during his senior year. Although, he absolutely made the most of the finale when he rushed for 1,339 yards in 2008. Chris Swain and Eric Kettani got preseason carries, but Mooney was the last service academy fullback to get rushes in a regular season NFL game. He played for the Tennessee Titans for two years and one year with the Falcons.
1. Kyle Eckel - Navy
Kyle Eckel is the gold standard for service academy fullbacks. In 2003 and 2004, Eckel posted back-to-back 1,000 rushing yard seasons with 1,249 and 1,147 respectably. He played 12 games for the New England Patriots in 2007, scoring two touchdowns that year. Eckel played in the NFL for two more seasons with the Eagles and the Saints. Eckel’s career at Navy began at the top of the century and he remains the best service academy fullback since then.