Know the Knights: DeLouisa and DePaola

Spring practice begins March 29, and to make sure everyone is prepared, is profiling each player on the roster leading up to the first session. This profile piece focuses on a pair of walk-ons in kicker Nick DeLouisa and fullback Nick DePaola.

The latest installment of "Know the Knights," takes a closer look at a pair of players who may go largely unnoticed much of the year, but could fill vital roles.

Placekicker Nick DeLouisa has the task of trying to unseat a fifth-year player to earn playing time, and Nick DePaola is looking for an increased role this season.

Nick DeLouisa

2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt freshman
Ht.: 6-3 Wt: 215
Position: Placekicker
High school: Immaculata High (Somerville, N.J.)
Background: Spent 2010 red-shirting and working as a member of the scout team kicking game while working on his place kicks and field goal kicking. …Played two years of varsity soccer at Immaculata before playing football. …Made a career-long 51 yard field goal as a senior and had four field goals of 48 yards or more. …Made 43 of46 PATs and had 32 touchbacks as a senior.…Missed much of his junior season because of illness.

Projected 2011 Role: DeLouisa walked-on and learned the college kicking game while watching San San Te last season. Te is still the overwhelming odds-on favorite to win the job, but DeLouisa could push him with a big spring.
One thing working against DeLouisa is experience. Although he does have a strong leg, he has slightly more than one year kicking experience, and will be competing with a fifth-year senior who has shown very good accuracy within 40 yards.
The likely role for DeLouisa is as a backup, but he should move up the depth chart after No. 2 placekicker Kyle Sullivan transferred.

Nick DePaola

2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt sophomore
Ht.: 6-0 Wt: 205
Position: Fullback
High school: Hereford High (Parkton, Md.)
Background: Played in three games and made four tackles on special teams in 2010. …Spent much of the season working with the scout team offense as a fullback and running back. …Did not play in 2009, his first season at Rutgers. …Ran for 1,600 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior at Hereford High. …Made 45 tackles as a senior and was a three-year member of the varsity team. …Older brother, Andrew, played at Rutgers and younger brother, Vince, will walk-on to Rutgers in the fall.

Projected 2011 Role: DePaola, a walk-on, is the type of player who can make a difference on special teams because of effort and football sense. He played in three games as a red-shirt freshman and his role should develop more in 2011 as a member of the coverage teams.
Offensively, unless DiPaola can bulk up to 225 pounds, he won't be able to take the constant pounding on playing fullback in new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti's offense.
The bar was set high by his brother, Andrew, who served as Rutgers' long-snapper in his fnal season and was a valuable, consistent member of the program. Nick is on his way to doing the same thing as he tries to fill a role or two many people take for granted.

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