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Army’s Donovan Franklin tweets transfer to Kansas

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This is something you don’t see all too often.

Donovan Franklin (pictured, No. 26) tweeted out late Tuesday night that, “[a]fter careful consideration I am happy to announce that I have decided to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Kansas.” Franklin had spent the past two years at the United States Military Academy at West Point, playing his college football for the Army Black Knights.

It’s unclear what led the slotback to leave the service academy and head to the Big 12 school.

Franklin was a two-star prospect coming out of high school in Maryland in Army’s Class of 2015.  After playing in two games in 2016, he carried the ball one time for seven yards this past season.

The 5-9, 185-pound Franklin was listed as a defensive back coming out of high school, and could assume such a role yet again with the Jayhawks.  That likely won’t happen this season, however, as it’s expected he will have to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

Army assistant Tucker Waugh reveals he’s fighting Parkinson’s

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One member of the Army coaching staff is fighting something much bigger than the game of football.

On Tuesday, in a story posted to Army’s official football website, assistant coach Tucker Waugh acknowledged that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  According to the posting, Waugh has been battling the insidious, potentially debilitating disease “for a few years now.”

“When you see me, know that my left hand may shake, but my resolve is steadfast to attack this condition with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind,” Waugh was quoted as saying.

One of the more poignant quotes came from the coach’s wife.

“I think his Parkinson’s diagnosis has only made his work ethic even stronger,” Jen Waugh said. “I feel as though he wants to prove to himself that this disease is not going to beat him. He’s very determined that it’s not going to take away from how he coaches and how he does his job. It makes me so happy to see that his passion for coaching has not changed, but rather increased, because of Parkinson’s.”

Waugh has spent 16 seasons in two separate stints as an assistant at West Point, the first coming from 2000-04 and then, after two years at Stanford, another from 2007 to the present.  Entering his 17th season at the military academy, Waugh will continue on with his duties as slotbacks coach and recruiting coordinator.

Army ‘will probably’ give Kell Walker shot at QB

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With uncertainty surrounding Ahmad Bradshaw, Army will apparently leave no stone unturned when it comes to the triggerman for its offense.

While Bradshaw, the Black Knights’ starting quarterback the past three seasons, will be a cadet at the service academy this fall, it’s unclear — or even unlikely — that he’ll be permitted to play football in 2018.  In December of last year, the Army defended an internal investigation that concluded Bradshaw and a female cadet had a consensual sexual relationship.

“We are,” head coach Jeff Monken said according to the Times Herald-Record when asked if the football team is moving forward under the assumption that Bradshaw will not be available this season. “We kind of have to move in that direction because we don’t know what the status is going to be. Right now, we are just preparing for us to have a new quarterback.”

With that in mind, Monken also confirmed this week “that sophomore slotback Kell Walker ‘will probably’ get a look at quarterback when the Black Knights open spring practice Tuesday,” Sal Interdonato of HudsonValley.com wrote.  Walker, who was third on the Black Knights in rushing last season (629 yards) and led them in yards per carry at 7.3, has never played quarterback before at any level.

Army, of course, is unique in that its offense allows them to even attempt such an experiment as their run-heavy system resulted in just 65 passes in 13 games last season.  Conversely, they led the nation in rushing at 362.3 yards per game.

“We will probably play him there some just to see what he is capable of doing,” Monken said of Walker by way of the Herald-Record. “We obviously want to get the ball in his hands as often as we can. He’s a good player for us. I think that would be a way to do that. I just don’t know if he’s going to be the guy that can lead our offense.

“The leadership piece for the quarterback is maybe as important as anything. I think he’s a good leader whether he will be able to lead from that position I do not know.”

The potential loss of Bradshaw, though, can’t be understated.  As a junior last season, Bradshaw ran for a school-record 1,746 yards and accounted for 14 of the Black Knights’ 50 rushing touchdowns.

The Walker experiment notwithstanding, Kelvin Hopkins will likely head into the spring as the favorite to replace Bradshaw under center.  The sophomore was the only player other than Bradshaw to attempt a pass last season, throwing 18 times (six completions) for 76 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  He also carried the ball seven times for 40 yards.

Academics lead Army’s starting LT to ‘pursue degree elsewhere’

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And now we know a little more of the rest of the story.

Rick Kurz, Army’s starting left tackle for much of the last three seasons, was not listed on the service academy’s spring roster.  Thursday, the offensive lineman confirmed to HudsonValley.com‘s Sal Interdonato that he has decided “to pursue my degree elsewhere.”

To Kurz’s credit, he acknowledged that his “inconsistent performance academically” triggered the decision to transfer.

I had to make one of the harder decisions I’ll ever make in January due to my inconsistent performance academically during the football season,” Kurz said. “This decision has led me to pursue my degree elsewhere. I am thankful for being a small part of the success Army has had in my three years at West Point. I will miss the coaches, trainers, my brothers in arms and beating Navy again in 2018. Go Army!

In 2017, Kurz started the first seven games of the season and then, after being benched for the next two but still playing, he started the last four as well. All told, Kurz has started 27 games at left tackle the last three seasons.

In those three years, he played in a total of 36 games.

Starting left tackle Rick Kurz not listed on Army’s spring roster

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Somewhat unexpectedly, Army’s offensive line has a rather significant hole in it. Whether that hole is temporary or permanent remains to be seen.

As pointed out by Sal Interdonato of HudsonValley.com, Rick Kurz is not listed on Army’s most recently updated online roster. Thus far, the football program has not addressed the offensive lineman’s omission from the roster that was released ahead of spring practice.

In 2017, Kurz started the first seven games of the season and then, after being benched for the next two but still playing, he started the last four as well. All told, Kurz has started 27 games at left tackle the last three seasons.

In those three years, he played in a total of 36 games.