In the latest installment of "Know the Knights," ScarletReport.com takes a closer at Dodd, as well as freshman specialist Anthony DiPaula, who was better known for his placekicking than punting in high school.
Ht.: 6-1 Wt: 215
High school: St. John Vianney High (Holmdel, N.J.)
Background: Had a Shore Conference-best 10 field goals as a senior, including a 46-yarder, and scored a league-best by kickers with 52 points. …Made 10 of 12 field goal attempts in his final season. …Only had two of 34 kickoffs returned. …Participated in the Rutgers' specialist camp in June and won the field goal competition with a 49-yarder. …Averaged 43.2 yards per punt as a senior.
Projected 2011 Role: DiPaula was better known as a field goal kicker in high school, but he enrolled in January after being recruited to replace outgoing senior Teddy Dellaganna as the Scarlet Knights' punter.
With Kyle Sullivan transferring out of the program, it opens the door for DiPaula to make an immediate impact. When Dellaganna was injured in 2010, Sullivan filled in and averaged 42.1 yards per punt.
DiPaula, a lefty, has a big leg, but proving he can punt the ball with consistency will be his job in the spring.
Ht.: 6-0 Wt: 197
High school: Byrns High (Duncan, S.C.)
Background: Became the quarterback after Tom Savage injured his wrist Oct. 2 against Tulane and started the final eight games. …Completed 123 of 223 passes for 1,637 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. …Led back-to-back comeback wins in his first two starts, against Connecticut and Army. …Three-year starter at Byrne High and threw for 10,292 yards and 81 touchdowns in his career. …Completed 252 of 391 passes for a school-record 4,163 yards and 51 touchdowns as a senior.
Projected 2011 Role: With Savage in Arizona, Dodd enters spring practice as the undisputed starter. The only other scholarship quarterback on the roster is Steve Shimko, but his status for the spring is uncertain because of fall shoulder surgery.
Dodd will get competition in the form of incoming freshman quarterback Gary Nova of Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), who is expected to be a regular at spring practice.
Even with a change in the offense under new coordinator Frank Cignetti, Dodd is the overwhelming favorite to be the starter for the season opener against North Carolina Central on Sept. 1. He will have the experience of taking the majority of reps in the spring, as well as 11 games of playing experience from his freshman season.