Storyline Central: Cornerback Battle

At the end of the spring campagin, no cornerback separated himself in coach Greg Schiano's eyes. Four cornerbacks are co-starters on the depth chart going into training camp with plenty of reps available after the top two from last season are no longer at the position. Does anyone have the edge in this position battle? Who are the sleepers? How many are capable of starting right now?

Moving David Rowe to safety makes the best use of his talents, but it also leaves the cornerback position without any veteran experience. Brandon Bing is gone and four cornerbacks hold co-starting positions going into training camp.

Since the McCourty twins manned the island, cornerback has not been a strong point for the Scarlet Knights. Out of spring practice, the four front-runners for the starting jobs are Logan Ryan, Marcus Cooper, Brandon Jones and Mason Robinson.

All four have "or"s next to their names on the post-spring depth chart released by Schiano and have strengths and weaknesses. The four can all expect significant playing time barring injury, but only two can have their names called on the scoreboard against North Carolina Central.

Right now, Ryan and Jones have the advantage, but only slightly. Jones is a fourth-year player, who was a defensive back from day one. Ryan, in his third year with the program, has also been a cornerback since enrollment. Cooper and Robinson started as offensive players

"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," Schiano said after the spring game. "I wish one would have just taken the job and seized it. We're going to have some great competition there."

The dark horse in the race? Gareef Glashen.

Glashen is a physical cornerback and approached every day since his arrival last year like he was out to win a starting job. After red-shirting, Glashen will give it everything he has to win playing time and is in good position to do so with a productive training camp.

The Contenders

Logan Ryan (R-Soph., 6-foot, 185) — Ryan came to Rutgers with high expectations as a highly-touted recruit. Ryan made nine tackles as a reserve cornerback last season will certainly do more than that this season whether or not he ends up a starter.

Brandon Jones (R-Jr., 6-foot-1, 187) — Nicknamed "Juice" for his speed, Jones has the most cornerback experience on the roster and took a step toward the consistency he needs to win a job this spring. Jones has 19 career tackles in the two seasons he saw the field.

Marcus Cooper (R-Jr., 6-foot-2, 185) — A converted wide receiver, Cooper's size gives him an advantage at cornerback. He started with the second-team defense at the spring game and will likely begin there the first day of training camp.

Mason Robinson (R-Sr., 5-foot-10, 190) — A top running-back recruit in 2007 and former primary backup to Ray Rice, Robinson finds himself at his third position with the Scarlet Knights. Robinson took home the annual toughness award this spring, recovering from a torn ACL. On offense, Robinson totaled 478 yards over his career.

Gareef Glashen (R-Fr., 5-foot-10, 190) — Glashen started as a second-teamer in the spring game, but needs a great training camp to jump the above names and win a starting job.

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