West Point reveals incoming football players

Army fullback Jared Hassin isn't a freshman, but he will be a new face for the cadets in 2010. (Danny Wild/USMA)

With Reception Day on Monday, Army was finally able to officially reveal the incoming class of cadets who will try to make the cut for the 2010 football team.

The list of freshmen, or plebes, includes three local student-athletes — Patrick Laird and Jared McFarlin, wide receivers out of Monroe-Woodbury High School and Mitch McKearn, a defensive line candidate out of O’Neill High School, which is about a five minute drive south from Thayer Gate.

McFarlin is 6-foot-5, the tallest of all incoming cadets, although he’s still a few inches shorter than ’09 top receiver, Ali Villanueva. James Woodward of Anna, Ill., is another receiver who comes in at 6-foot-4.

Army head coach Rich Ellerson will weed out the top talent of the incoming class of cadets. (Danny Wild/USMA)

West Point has the full list online here.

“It will be exciting to see how they handle all of this as the summer progresses and how they are when we get them on the field,” Army head coach Rich Ellerson said. “Inevitably there will be a handful of freshmen that have a chance to get in the middle of things immediately.”

2009 QB Trent Steelman became the first Army plebe QB in Academy history to start all of West Point’s games. It’s unlikely he’ll be displaced, though, to begin the 2010 campaign.

“Some of that depends on their particular position and how well they handle the trials and tribulations that Cadet Basic Training present,” Ellerson said. “That, of course, you can’t anticipate. You just have to believe what happens once you get them.”

Fans got a sneak peak of what to expect this fall in the 2010 Black/Gold spring scrimmage, which provided the first glimpse of West Point’s bruising new fullback, Jared Hassin. The new class of recruits includes five running backs and four quarterbacks.

The 2014 football class includes 28 players who made the jump up from the U.S. Military Academy Prep School.

“It’s great to have these young men here at West Point,” Ellerson said. “You bring this group up from the Prep School and then you blend a really gifted group of direct guys that are relative strangers to each other.”

These new football recruits will be waking up bright and early on Tuesday for probably the first of many runs. And soon enough, it’ll be Ellerson sending them sprinting across the field at Michie Stadium.

“They are all going to become closer than brothers in the next couple of years,” Ellerson said. “It’s an exciting moment. It is a talented group.”

R-Day at West Point is a big deal for both the Academy and the near-1400 men and women, some already combat veterans, who are beginning a grueling four-year journey to graduation. Football, in a sense, takes a pretty solid back seat to the significance of the day; today is a life-changing moment for many of these new cadets. Check out some of my buddy Tommy Gilligan’s outstanding images from R-Day festivities today at West Point, a great behind-the-scenes look at what these cadets went though on a brutally hot, humid day today in New York. A pair of Army football players are pictured in the set, Donovan Travis and Chad Littlejohn, both giving hell to the new cadet candidates.

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Danny Wild is a reporter and photographer for MLB.com. He volunteers as a photographer at West Point. This blog in no way reflects the views of MLB or USMA.

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