Know the Knights: James to Larrow

Spring practice begins Tuesday, and to make sure everyone is prepared, is profiling each player on the roster leading up to the first session. The latest "Know the Knights" feature profiles on James Kim, Kenneth Kirksey, Patrick Kivlehan, Rashad Knight, Anthony LaLota and Michael Larrow.

Spring practice begins Tuesday, and is profiling each player on the roster.

This installment of "Know the Knights" hits on six guys looking to make their marks in the program.

James Kim

2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt freshman
Ht.: 6-3Wt: 235
Position: Tight end
High school: Kinnelon (N.J.) High
Background: Walk-on was a member of the scout team offense in 2010. …Played defensive end and linebacker and had 12 sacks as a senior at Kinnelon High.

Projected 2011 Role: Kim will not be involved in contact in spring practice after undergoing surgery. He was a defensive player in high school but was invited to walk-on because of his size and athleticism, and the hope he develops into a Saturday contributor in a few years.

It is too early to tell whether Kim will be able to play later in his career, but at this juncture he appears destined to spend 2011 as a member of the scout team again.

Kenneth Kirksey

2011 Eligibility:Freshman
Ht.: 6-1 Wt: 280
Position: Defensive tackle
High school: Mainland High (Daytona Beach, Fla.)/Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy
Background: Spent the fall as a post-graduate student at FUMA after not meeting NCAA academic qualifications out of high school and enrolled in January. …Registered 106 tackles and eight sacks as a senior at Mainland High. …One of the top prospects in the state of Florida's 2010 recruiting class. …Grew up a Florida State fan but chose Rutgers when the Seminoles did not offer.

Projected 2011 Role: Kirksey is physically ready to play, and being able to participate in spring practice will only speed up his process of learning the defensive system.
Kirksey is a three-technique player whose strength is getting up the field. He is very quick and moves well, including able to do a back flip despite his size.
He will play the same position as junior Scott Vallone, but the two could wind up playing together as the Scarlet Knights look to get their speed, strength and athleticism on the field together.
Kirksey came to Rutgers to play right away, and he should be an integral part of the defensive line rotation, and has the chance to have a breakout season.

Patrick Kivlehan

2011 Eligibility:Senior
Ht.: 6-2 Wt: 211
Position: Safety
High school: St. Joseph's High (Montvale, N.J.)
Background: Reserve safety played mostly on special teams and made nine tackles in 12 games. Also caught one pass for four yards. … Was injured and missed five games in 2009 and made 16 tackles in eight games. …Played in 10 games as a true freshman in 2008 and made one tackle.

Projected 2011 Role: Kivlehan will be part of a crowded safety competition. His best spot is free safety, where he can roam the secondary, but he also has the ability to come up in run support.
However, with Rashad Knight, Lorenzo Waters and David Rowe among those competing for playing time, Kivlehan will have to rely on his experience to prove he is deserving of playing time.
Kivlehan's value in 2011 could be as a strong special teams player, but he will get the chance to compete in spring practice for playing time. Kivlehan could also be a valuable backup in the secondary, but never write off seniors when it comes to winning jobs.

Rashad Knight

2011 Eligibility: Red-shirt freshman
Ht.: 5-11 Wt: 190
Position: Safety
High school: Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Background: Red-shirted as a cornerback in 2010 after selecting Rutgers over Michigan days before signing day. …Had 60 tackles and seven INTs as a cornerback as a senior at TCA. …Averaged 7.78 yards and scored six TDs as a running back. …Played safety as a junior at TCA.

Projected 2011 Role: Knight has made the move to safety, and plays with speed and a physicality that will allow him to play either free or strong safety.
Knight will likely start out at free safety since he likes to roam the secondary and has very good instincts to track down the ball and also can cover.
In what is a talented but inexperienced secondary, Knight should compete for playing time, if not a starting job as the Scarlet Knights look to replace safeties Joe Lefeged and Khaseem Greene, who moved to weakside linebacker.
Knight also has the skills to be a nickel- or dime-package defensive back.

Anthony LaLota

2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt sophomore
Ht.: 6-4 Wt: 270
Position: Defensive tackle
High school: The Hun School (Princeton, N.J.)
Background: Transferred from Michigan in September and spent 2010 as a defensive end o the scout team. …Chose Michigan over Rutgers when he was rated as the No. 4 offensive tackle prospect in the 2009 recruiting class. …Made 92 tackles and had 21 ½ sacks in two seasons at The Hun School.

Projected 2011 Role: A position change was expected during the offseason, but not the one LaLota made. Rather than move to the offensive line, LaLota was shifted inside and will play defensive tackle in the spring.
LaLota prefers to play defense, and one of the reasons he was moved inside is to provide depth after the Scarlet Knights lost Charlie Noonan to graduation and Eric LeGrand to his devastating injury last season.
Rutgers likes to rotate four players on the interior of its line, and two of those spots are expected to be taken by Vallone and Kirksey. Michael Larrow is also in the mix after moving from defensive end last season, but there is playing time to be had if LaLota can make the transition.

Michael Larrow

2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt sophomore
Ht.: 6-4 Wt: 260
Position: Defensive tackle
High school: Union (N.J.) High
Background: Made the move from defensive end to defensive tackle midway through the 2010 season and made 10 tackles in six games. He also registered on sack. …Red-shirted in 2009 at defensive end and was a member of the scout team defense. …Made 64 tackles, including 10 sacks, and also played tight end as a senior at Union High.

Projected 2011 Role: Rutgers coach Greg Schiano believes Larrow has the physical tools to be a high-caliber player at defensive tackle …once he puts the weight on and refines his technique because of his body control and athleticism.
Like LaLota, the opportunity exists for Larrow to grab playing time in 2011, but he needs to prove his development at the position in the spring.
If things go well, expect Larrow to be a solid contributor in 2011 while he learns the finer points of the position.

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