On Monday, Army football beat writer Sal Interdonato reported that the Black Knights were likely giving slotback Kell Walker looks at QB during spring practice.
Walker has proved to be a versatile weapon for Army over the past two years, rushing for 1007 yards on the strength of 7.0 yards per carry, receiving for 141 on 7 catches, and returning kicks for 543 yards and a 20.9-yard average.
While the move seems unconventional to some, it would not be the first time Army has looked to its skill players to fill their signal-caller void.
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Don Holleder E/QB – 1955
Possibly the most famous stories of a skill player not only in Army history, but in all of college football. Holleder was an All-American end in 1954, catching 17 passes for 495 yards. However, legendary coach Red Blaik asked Holleder to sacrifice back-to-back All-American honors, and switch to quarterback. Holleder completed only three passes in the Cadets’ first four games, where they went 2-2. Holleder and Army caught fire however and Army to a 4-1 finish, which included a 14-6 upset victory over a 6-1-1 Navy team. In the Navy game, Army ran for 283 yards and only attempted two passes, with none being completed. For the 1955 season, Holleder’s passing figures were 22-65 for 409 yards and 6 TDs.
Photo Credit: COMC
Myreon Williams WR/QB – 1991
Like Holleder, Williams was moved to QB out of necessity. Williams was a productive receiver in Army’s wishbone attack in 1990, catching 13 passes for 434 yards, averaging a whopping 33.4 yards per catch. Five of his catches were touchdowns, meaning that about 38% of his catches were touchdowns that year. One of his touchdowns was a 35-yarder vs Navy, on Army’s only pass in their 30-20 win over the Midshipmen that year. However, in 1991 starting QB Willie McMillian went down in the third game, causing first-year coach Bob Sutton to hand the reigns over to Williams. Williams performed well as the point man for Army’s wishbone, rushing for 924 yards on 5.0 yards per carry, but struggled as a passer, completing 14-47 for 267 yards and one touchdown. Out of his 47 passes, an astonishing seven were interceptions. In the Navy game that year, Williams ran for 106 yards, but forced to come from behind, he only completed two of his 13 passes, with two of them being intercepted in the 21-3 Army loss.
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Carlo Sandiego SB/KR/QB – 2008
In 2008, Army’s offense underwent a transformation, switching back to an option after almost a decade away from the scheme. In the mix, for the starting QB nod were Carson Williams and Chip Bowden, who were better suited for the previous pro style scheme. Looking for options Brock gave slotback Carlo Sandiego reps, as he was an option quarterback at the United States Military Academy Prep School. In his two previous years of action, Sandiego saw time at running back and returned kickoffs, totaling 11 carries for 40 yards, eight receptions for 82 yards, and four kick returns for 52 yards. Sandiego saw his only action at quarterback in the Akron game after starter Chip Bowden injured his ankle, and proceeded to lose two fumbles and gain only one rushing yard in seven snaps under center. Bowden would come back the next game and play the rest of the year. Sandiego would amass 68 receiving yards on six catches, -3 rushing yards, 105 yards on 6 kick returns, and 69 yards on 10 punt returns.
While the concept of skill players playing QB at Army is nothing new, moving Walker to QB would be different this time around, as it gives an already stacked Army rushing attack more room for creativity, rather than being out of necessity.