Top 5 Contenders for Captainship

The "30 lists in 30 days" series is designed to lead us into the camp circuit. Have your own thoughts on one of our lists? Feel free to debate on the message boards. Today and yesterday, we look at the top contenders for team captain in 2011.

It could be all five of them or it could be just two or three. Rutgers does not set a specific number of team captains each season and the players tend to decide midway through training camp in August. Here is a look at the top contenders judged by experience, performance and past leadership.

5.) WR Mohamed Sanu — The skill players on offense are all young and look to Sanu, who was an impact player from his first game, as a leader. Sanu is a major figure in the recruiting game and as a teacher to the younger players.

The last non-senior to be a team captain was Mike Teel in 2007, but with the youth on the roster this season, Sanu stands a chance.

4.) DT Scott Vallone —Like Sanu, Vallone is a lock for captainship as a senior and has a strong chance to be one as a junior.

Vallone is a lead-by-example player that became an impact player as a red-shirt freshman. Head coach Greg Schiano said multiple times during the spring that Vallone is the only defensive lineman to separate himself so far. As the best and most experienced member of the front seven, Vallone will be a leader with or without the captain title that goes along with it.

3.) OT Desmond Stapleton Howard Barbieri, last year's lone offensive captain, is gone, which makes Stapleton the most experienced starter.

Stapleton moved to the right side of the line during the spring and said he feels more comfortable there. He is not the most vocal or the most established fifth-year senior, but he is toward the top in both categories and enters his second season as a starter.

2.) FB Joe Martinek — Jersey Joe has a lot of characteristics that make him a top contender for captainship.

A gritty athlete, Martinek came to Rutgers five years ago as a defensive back recruit and the all-time leading high school rusher in New Jersey. After strong scout-team performances his first year, Martinek moved to running back where he had three successful years as a co-starter.

Now a fifth-year senior, Martinek embarks on his third position with the Scarlet Knights. He is listed as the starter at fullback to start training camp and will be a major part of new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti's system.

1.) S David Rowe — Rowe said this spring he made a concerted effort to be more vocal.

A member of the two-deep since his true freshman season, Rowe benefits in a big way by his move to safety and is the leader of a young secondary this season. Rowe's combination of experience and skill make him the top candidate in 2011 for captainship.

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