This installment of "Know the Knights" hits on four guys, ranging from the talented D.C. Jefferson to walk-on Robert Jones. Also in this group is running back Jawan Jamison and defensive back Brandon Jones.
2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt freshman
Ht.: 5-8 Wt: 200
Position: Running back
High school: The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Background: Red-shirted in 2010 and was a member of the scout team offense. …Three-year starter at The Bolles School and ran for 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior. …Rated the No. 81 running back in the 2010 class by Scout.com.
Projected 2011 Role: In the hype of Savon Huggins signing with Rutgers, Rashaad Williams heading to Rutgers if his academic situation is worked out and Jeremy Deering shifting from receiver to running back, it is easy to overlook Jamison.
However, he was never able to show his ability last season because a family situation caused him to go home in the summer and miss workouts, and he injured his leg early in camp and never got into the mix.
However, with no proven running backs in spring practice, Jamison will get his chance to compete for playing time and get himself in position for training camp. It is a long shot Jamison grabs playing time in the fall, but he has a chance to open eyes in the spring.
2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt junior
Ht.: 6-6Wt: 258
Position: Tight end
High school: Winter Haven (Fla.) High
Background: Had 10 catches for 166 yards and one touchdown in 2010. …Made five catches for 108 yards in 2009, which was his first season as a tight end after making the training camp switch from quarterback. …Red-shirted in 2008. …Threw for 1,627 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior at Winter Haven High.
Projected 2011 Role: This is the season for Jefferson to make an impact. It is his third year after making the move from quarterback, he has experience, size and understanding of the position, and a proven tight ends coach in Brian Angelichio.
Also, in first-year coordinator Frank Cignetti's offense, the tight end can be a big target and be a player who can change an offense's passing game.
Blocking was an issue in the past, but in his third season, the strength and the technique should not be an issue.
Jefferson should have a big impact on the offense, both in blocking and in the passing game. He is the lone tight end on the roster with the combination of the size and athleticism to play in the NFL, but he needs to make that next step in 2011 and be a force.
2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt junior
Ht.: 6-1 Wt: 187
High school: Winslow Township High (Atco, N.J.)
Background: Made 11 tackles and recovered a fumble as a reserve defensive back in 2010. …Played in 11 games in 2009 and had eight tackles, and made his first career INT in his first start against South Florida. …Was a member of the defensive scout team in 2008. …Had 47 catches for 997 yards and 54 tackles as a senior at Winslow Township High.
Projected 2011 Role: Jones' situation is intriguing as spring practice nears. He was a reserve last season and played in nickel situations, but didn't have the anticipated impact and was in and out of the packages as the season progress.
The decision was made to go with speed in the secondary in the spring, which is why Jordan Thomas was moved to cornerback and David Rowe shifted to safety.
Jones has good speed, but it is time for him to make a move on the roster and prove he can play an increased role and be reliable and consistent. Jones will have to show improvement from a year ago to become a viable candidate for increased playing time in 2011.
2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt sophomore
Ht.: 6-0 Wt: 208
Position: Long snapper
High school: Caldwell High (West Caldwell, N.J.)
Background: Walk-on served as the long-snapper and made four tackles in 11 games in 2010. …Was a member of the scout team in 2009. …Played center and defensive end at Caldwell High. …Was a member of the baseball team for two seasons and went 4-1 as a pitcher.
Projected 2011 Role: Robert Horrell was brought in last season to help shore up the long-snapping situation, but was injured in training camp. The job fell to Jones, who did well in playing in 11 games.
Long snapper is an ultra-important but overlooked spot, and the competition will be very strong in the spring, and it figures to continue into training camp. It is tough to unseat an incumbent, but Jones will be pushed.