This installment of "Know the Knights" is an eclectic group of players trying to make a step up and grab significant playing time in 2011, and the first step comes in proving themselves in spring practice.
2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt sophomore
Ht.: 6-0 Wt: 193
Position: Running back
High school: Penns Grove High (Carneys Point, N.J.)
Background: Played two games in 2010 and spent 2009 working on the scout team offense as a receiver. …Played four years varsity at Penns Grove and ran for 232 yards and two scores in state title game as a senior. …Ran for 2,628 yards and 33 touchdowns in his last two years at Penns Grove.
Projected 2011 Role: After not being able to break the receiver rotation, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said Hayward was contemplating a transfer, but decided to shift positions and play running back for the Scarlet Knights.
It is Hayward's natural position, and he showed some of his elusiveness last year as a member of the scout team when he played quarterback when the Scarlet Knights were preparing for South Florida.
Savon Huggins and Jeremy Deering are expected to take the majority of carries at running back in the fall, but Hayward is being given the chance to show what he can do in the spring.
Rutgers could use a third-down back who can catch balls out of the backfield and convert long yardage plays, and Hayward has a chance to be that player.
Ht.: 6-2Wt: 295
High school: Iowa Western CC/St. Ansgar (Iowa) High
Background: Selected to the first team all-Midwest Football Conference first-team in both seasons at Iowa Western. …Was not recruited out of high school and chose Rutgers over Washington State and Wyoming. …Enrolled in January. …Went 41-3 as a senior wrestling at 285 pounds.
Projected 2011 Role: This one is simple: Hendrikson was brought to Rutgers to start at center, a position of great need and little depth in the program.
He was a two-year starter at Iowa Western, and would have been heavily recruited had he been an inch taller. Still, he is expected to be the anchor of the offensive line. He is athletic, powerful and smart, and is installed as the starting center from the start of spring practice.
How entrenched is he?
On the Scarlet Knights' roster, every offensive lineman's position is listed as "OL," except for Hendrikson, who is listed as a center.
2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt sophomore
Ht.: 6-3 Wt: 277
Position: Defensive tackle
High school: Hoboken (N.J.) High
Background: Played in two games and made one tackle in 2010 and took reps against the second-team offense in practice. …Red-shirted in 2009 and was a member of the scout team defense. …Made 94 tackles and had seven sacks as a senior and also played offensive tackle at Hoboken High.
Projected 2011 Role: Rutgers has depth at defensive tackle with Scott Vallone, Kenneth Kirksey and Michael Larrow, but there is room for one more player since the Scarlet Knights like to rotate their defensive linemen.
That gives Holmes a chance. He has had to work himself into proper playing shape and develop the strength to play inside, and he will get a chance to prove how much ground he gained since coming out of Hackensack High.
Fans are waiting for Holmes to make an impact and show signs of the promise he exerted in high school, and that chance comes in the spring. It takes time for defensive tackles to develop, but Holmes should play a limited role in the 2011 season.
2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt freshman
Ht.: 5-10 Wt: 210
Position: Long snapper
High school: Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High
Background: Walk-on was expected to compete for long-snapping spot but suffered season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury in training camp and red-shirted. …Played center and linebacker in high school. …won two national spring events at the Chris Sailer Kicking and Rubio Long Snapping School.
Projected 2011 Role: He was brought from the left coast to serve as the long-snapper, but that plan went awry when he was injured in August. His rehab on his knee continues, and he will be limited in spring practice.
However, once training camp rolls around, Horrell will be in a fierce competition to win the job held by Robert Jones last season.