Jeff Monken

Army head coach Jeff Monken stands with his team after of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

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Before the start of Illinois football's training camp on Aug. 2 in Champaign, beat writer Bob Asmussen is counting down the Top 50 teams heading into the 2019 college football season:

No. 25: Army

Coach: Jeff Monken

2018 record: 11-2

Projected 2019 record: 11-2

Circle the date: Dec. 14 vs. Navy

Bowl trip: Frisco

Why No. 25: Kelvin Hopkins Jr. is the perfect quarterback to run Army’s option offense. Last season, he became the first player in school history to run and pass for more than 1,000 yards in the same season. ... Kell Walker returns at running back and is also a threat as a receiver. ... The Black Knights welcome back three starters on the offensive line. Army wins with the ground game, finishing second in the nation in rushing last season. ... The defense needs to replace seven starters. The best of the bunch is linebacker Cole Christiansen. Three starters are back in the secondary. ... The schedule is built for another double-digit record. Army will be tested the second week with a trip to Michigan. The other challenges are trips to Air Force and Hawaii.

Last year’s ranking: NR

College Football Reporter/Columnist

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is asmussen@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).