Spring Lesson: Long gone are the days of established veteran corners like the McCourty twins. There is a lot of depth at cornerback this season, but the depth is unproven and inexperienced.
David Rowe, last season's top cornerback, moved to safety where he feels very comfortable and speedster Brandon Bing will graduate as a part of this Sunday's ceremonies.
Behind Rowe and Bing last season, there were more questions than answers.
Starters out of Spring: In the spring game, red-shirt junior Brandon Jones and red-shirt sophomore Logan Ryan got the starting nods and are the leading contenders for the start of training camp.
Jones and Ryan were part of a group of corners that caught coach Greg Schiano's eye during training camp and return as the most experienced corners on the roster. Jones, known as "Juice" on the gridiron, made 11 tackles as a reserve last season. Ryan, who also worked as a reserve behind Bing and Rowe, had nine tackles last season and led the first-teamers with five tackles in the spring game.
Got a Chance: When Jones' and Ryan's names came up in the cornerback mix, fifth-year senior Mason Robinson and red-shirt sophomore Marcus Cooper were not far behind. The commonality between Robinson and Cooper is that both are converted offensive players.
Robinson spent his first spring at cornerback this year after four at running back. The Somerville High School product suffered a torn ACL this season after just one play. He rebounded strongly this spring, however, and earned the Frank. R Burns Award for mental and physical toughness.
Cooper, a converted wide receiver, is in his second season as a defensive back.
Youngsters Gareef Glashen and Jonathan Aiken bring a lot of athleticism to the position. Aiken displayed tremendous physicial skills in his one year at Chaminade High School in Florida and may become a special-teams weapon. He blocked six kicks and recorded 95 tackles in his one season at Chaminade.
Needs More Time: An injury setback in the spring curbed sophomore Jordan Thomas' development at a new position. Last season's shifty running back asked for the move to cornerback in the offseason, but may need to red-shirt before he is fully ready at his new position.
Local product (Piscataway High School) Jawaun Wynn moved to defense from wideout in the offseason, but worked a little at both toward the end of camp. This indecision implies uncertainty for Wynn, who may still find time on special teams because he already used his red-shirt.
Schiano's Take: "There were a couple of ebbs and flows throughout the spring, where I thought we were going to have one of those corners take it and run with it and then they pulled back to the pack. I wish one would have just taken the job and seized it.
"We're going to have some great competition there. I think some of the young guys, like the Gareef Glashen's and the Jonathan Aiken's – with a summer more under their belt – will have a better understanding when we hit training camp, which will be critical. Physically, they can do it; it's just mentally knowing what to do.
"I was really, really excited about Mason Robinson. He will help us in whatever role it is. Whether it is starting at first and second down at the corner or in a third down sub package, he is a very, very good cover guy. We have some depth there and some guys that we can move around.
"I'm really looking for those two guys to grab it. We did have consistent, very solid play (throughout the spring). I'm looking for someone to go out there and really be spectacular at the position."
Transition to Training Camp:
Transition to Training Camp: Cornerbacks
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