May 18, 2011

Black Knights are in the hunt for LB/Safety

There is little question of Chris Santini's talents and probably more uncertainty on what position will he play at the next level. The talented defender hits the scales at 6-foot-1, 213 pounds, but by the time he concludes his high school playing days and add a summer of S&C, he could easily at another 10-15 pounds to his frame.

His athletic ability, along with Santini's tenacity to hit and his range have caught the attention of several colleges, many who have already offered the San Jose (Calif.) Leland High School product.

And clearly the Black Knights of Army fall into that category. Within Army's double eagle flex defensive scheme, Santini is an ideal fit for the hybrid role of Rover. Where last season Black Knights' fans could expect to see graduating senior, Donnie Dixon play deep in the traditional strong safety spot or in the box as an outside linebacker, where his athleticism would see him explode off the edge in a blitz package.

So when the Black Knights came calling, Santini has been all ears. "I talked them two weeks ago," says Santini, who is all tracking well academically and maintains a 3.2 GPA, with the hopes of majoring in either kinesiology or business.

"I sat down and had a great conversation with Coach Shields (Army's offensive coordinator) and we stay in touch on a regular basis. My relationship with Coach Shields is good and he has answered all of my questions."

With several other offers on his plate, where does Army fit on his list of school expressing high interest? "They are definitely up there, but I need to get to know them a little bit better," Santini declares. "I am hoping to get out there to visit."

"Army (West Point) is the top academic school that has offered me and that helps a lot. Knowing that I will be getting one of the top educations that I possibly can is big for me. I would like to know how the team runs everything … their practices … you know, their mindset."

Santini is quick to point out that even by his standards, he is someone surprised at the level of interest that his talents has drawn from very schools … but he isn't complaining at all. "Recruiting is coming along well and right where I hoped it will be … actually even better than I anticipated," Santini expressing humbly, but yet making light of the moment.

College Position?

The California prospect has quality upside and could project at several position and he has attended a couple of summer camps getting acclimated to the idea of playing linebacker at Leland, and perhaps at the next level.

"Army is recruiting me as an outside linebacker," he says. The only school that hasn't said linebacker is Oregon State."

"I played safety the last two years, but moving down to inside backer this season because my coach doesn't want to cut me off from one side of the field and therefore he's putting me in the middle.

"I have been to two camps as an actual linebacker," notes Santini. "Both of those camps I learned stuff at linebacker. Pretty basic stuff, but stuff I needed to learn, but just didn't know because I've never been taught as a linebacker. From what I heard, I was pretty successful in switching over."

For those who haven't seen Santini in action, he is the type of defender that is very aggressive and will come up fast to make the play or deliver the blow.

The move to linebacker, coupled with his athletic and physical skills, Santini should be able make the reads a lot better from inside the box versus his previous position at safety where his speed is also an asset.

Presently, Santini indicated that he is hearing from Boise State the most. "Boise talks to me almost every other day and they seem to be recruiting me the hardest as he laughs at the possibility of playing on the "blue turf".

Santini's versatility, aggressive play and athletic is very similar to that of former Army Black Knight and current Detroit Lion, Caleb Campbell. will continue to follow Santini's recruiting through his senior campaign.

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