Army was hit by news in May that one of their starters was set to transfer out of the program.
While head coach Jeff Monken did everything he could to persuade starting slotback Tyler Campbell to stay at West Point, his effort proved futile and the now former Black Knights transferred to Elon. While we are used to players sitting out their transfer year, Campbell will be eligible to play his two remaining seasons immediately as the Phoenix play at the FCS level.
Campbell was a bright spot for Army on offense in 2016. He started 11 of the 13 games he appeared in, rushing for 326 yards and 34 carries. What Army loses most with the transfer of Campbell is explosion, as his 9.6 yards per carry average was the best on the entire team last season.
He also gave Army a glimpse of what the future may have held as he rushed for a career-high 88 yards in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, including a 70-yard touchdown scamper.
While losing Campbell hurts, Army will recover. The Black Knights are a system team and while rare players can come in and shake up the system with their talent and ability, Campbell was not that player. Sure, he was a nice, elusive, and effective runner, but 326 yards over the course of a season can be found in other ways. With that in mind it is telling that Campbell has undergone a position switch at Elon when he will be lining up as a cornerback.
Army recruits slotbacks in bunches, often hoping that one or two will break out and become key cogs in the machine. At worst the slotbacks will be nothing more than serviceable, yet even that works in the triple-option system. This is not an offense where any one slotback gets a bunch of touches as they tend to be reserved for quarterback and fullback runs. That is why while Campbell will be missed, his impact on the 2017 squad would have been more like his yearly total than his breakout bowl game performance.