The Capital has confirmed a list of 64 high school seniors that have signed commitment paperwork with the Navy football program. A large majority of those players will spend the 2021-22 academic year at the Naval Academy Prep School.
Army, Air Force and Navy do not sign athletic recruits to national letters of intent since they must go through the appointment and admissions process. Navy football will not announce its official incoming class until after those players enroll at the academy for plebe summer in July.
Rivals.com lists Navy football with 77 commitments, the majority of which received two-star grades. According to Rivals, the Midshipmen picked up seven 3-star recruits — linebackers Jared Behrens and Patrick Turner, defensive back Roderic Lewis and Tyler Gaskin, offensive lineman Brody Crane, defensive end Jake Lusk and running back Cameron Smith.
Turner, a product of Highland Park High in Dallas, chose Navy over service academy rival Air Force along with Abilene Christian and Arkansas State. He had interest from Arizona State.
Turner amassed 69 tackles (35 solo, 9 for loss), four sacks and two interceptions as a junior. He anchored a defense that allowed just 19.5 points per game while helping Highland Park post an 11-2 record in 2019 and was a member of a Class 5A Division I state championship team as a sophomore.
Behrens, who hails from Ashburn, Virginia, concluded his career at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. He was recruited by Illinois, Maryland and Penn State of the Big Ten Conference along with Georgia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference. He had scholarship offers from Army, Toledo and Charlotte.
At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Behrens passes the eye test for a Navy outside linebacker and has posted impressive combine numbers. He has run the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds and boasts a 34-inch vertical leap. He was recruited by assistant Kevin Downing and committed to Navy on Feb. 4.
Gaskin began his prep career at American Heritage High in Delray Beach then transferred to Deerfield Beach High in the Florida town of the same name. The 5-foot-9, 160-pounder has been described by recruiting analysts as a lockdown cover corner.
Assistant Danny O’Rourke recruited Gaskin, who committed to Navy in late July over Army, Air Force and Coastal Carolina. He was ranked the No. 86 player in Florida by Rivals.
Navy, led by assistant Ashley Ingram, has recruited the greater Memphis area hard since joining the American Athletic Conference. Lewis is the latest defensive back from the Bluff City, following in the footsteps of Sean Williams and Cameron Kinley.
Lewis committed to Navy in late December after receiving 14 scholarship offers, including from Power Five programs Indiana and Vanderbilt. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound product of The Memphis University School decommitted from AAC rival Tulane.
Lewis, who projects to play safety at the collegiate level, might have been thinking about the Naval Academy last spring when he told gridironscouting.com he’s “looking for a school where I can earn a great degree and that will help me develop into a better player and an even better man.
“Making it to the league is of course a dream of mine but I want to be somewhere that will help set me up for life, even if football is not a part of it.”
Lusk was also pursued by the other two service academies along with numerous Ivy League schools. The Johnstown, Ohio, resident also had scholarship offers from six Mid-American Conference programs.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder was rated the No. 38 player in Ohio by Rivals and committed to Navy in June after being recruited hard by assistant P.J. Volker. He is also a standout basketball player at Johnstown Monroe High and recently surpassed 1,000 career points.
As a junior, Lusk earned All-Ohio Division V first team honors after recording 12 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. His older sister, Maddi Lusk, was a standout softball player at Youngstown State.
Smith, who starred at Olympic High in Charlotte, North Carolina, chose Navy over service academy rivals Army and Air Force. The 5-foot-9, 185-pounder also had scholarship offers from Davidson, Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State.
Smith rushed for more than 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior and told Charlotte television station WCNC he was interested in studying either engineering or forensic psychology in college.
Crane, a Santa Margarita, California, resident, flipped to Navy after initially committing to Air Force in December. The 6-foot-3, 290-pounder was swayed by assistant Steve Johns, who has recruited the West Coast for Navy since joining the staff in 2008.
Crane, who played both center and guard for Santa Margarita Catholic, also held a scholarship offer from Arizona State.