Army-Navy Game preview: 5 star players to watch

By Jesse Reed
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This Saturday, the annual Army-Navy Game will take place as these two historic military institutions battle for the Secretary’s Trophy for the 120th time.

In honor of this longstanding rivalry game, both teams will wear custom uniforms this year.

Coming into this year’s Army-Navy Game, there’s no doubt the Midshipmen have every reason to be heavily favored (-10.5). Yet, there are star players from both teams you’ll want to keep an eye on.

With that in mind, here are five star players you’ll want to watch during Saturday’s Army-Navy Game.

Navy: Jamale Carothers, fullback

Fullbacks don’t typically get a lot of love in most offenses. But in Navy’s triple-option attack, Jamale Carothers is a star.

When the Midshipmen score this year, it typically has been Carothers taking the ball into the end zone when it’s not star quarterback Malcolm Perry (more on him later). All told, the sophomore has racked up 741 scrimmage yards and 14 total touchdowns this season.

Army: Kelvin Hopkins Jr., quarterback

Senior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins will play in his final Army-Navy Game, which holds special meaning to him: β€œOne last time. I want to make it perfect,” Hopkins said as he prepared to face Navy on Saturday, per the Associated Press. β€œI’m super excited but definitely nervous.”

Hopkins is the engine that makes Army’s offense go. He’s a dual-threat passer who can take over games on the ground. The past two games, Hopkins has piled up 295 rushing yards on just 26 carries. If Army is going to upset Navy, then he’ll have to have another stellar game.

Navy: Jake Springer, linebacker

Discipline is the name of the game for both defenses as they gear up to stop the triple-option. Junior linebacker Jake Springer is going to be all over the place, and he’s a player to watch due to his ability to make plays in the backfield, both against the run and pass.

Springer leads Navy with 13.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and three forced fumbles. He’s going to be a key player for the Midshipmen, just as he has been throughout the 2019 campaign.

Army: Elijah Riley, cornerback

A player who could take his talents to the NFL, Elijah Riley is a stellar all-around cornerback who makes impact plays both behind the line of scrimmage and on the back end with his ball-hawking abilities.

The 6-foot, 205-pound senior is going to be putting it all on the table Saturday to leave one final impression on NFL scouts before the All-Star games. So far this season, Riley has piled up 54 tackles, three forced fumbles, three interceptions and four sacks.

Navy: Malcolm Perry, quarterback

We’ve been in awe of what Malcolm Perry has done so far this season. He’s lethal as a dual-threat passer, having put up over 1,000 yards both on the ground and through the air. While the Midshipmen don’t throw often, he has been able to take full advantage of his opportunities and features a strong, accurate arm downfield.

What makes Perry even more dangerous is that he routinely makes house calls, and it doesn’t particularly matter where he is on the field when it happens. Blessed with plenty of speed and a gritty demeanor that dares defenders to bring him down, Perry is a ton of fun to watch.