Storyline Central: Special Teams continues its lead-in to training camp series with a look at special teams. Between the departure of Teddy Dellaganna and Kyle Sullivan from the kicking game, what changes can be expected in training camp? Does anyone have the edge in the return game?


Punter remains the biggest question for the Rutgers football team going into training camp. Though he battled through a quad injury as a senior, punter Teddy Dellaganna was reliable in the field-position game during his three seasons as a starting punter.

In Dellaganna's absence during parts of last season, walk-on Kyle Sullivan filled in admirably by trapping opponents within the 20-yard line 28 percent of the time.

Dellaganna is now a graduate and Sullivan transferred to another program, making true freshman Anthony DiPaula the new punter.

DiPaula enrolled early this spring to get a leg up, but struggled early in the spring. Mohamed Sanu's name popped up briefly as a punter in the spring, but according to coach Greg Schiano, DiPaula came on strong at the end of spring.

"I'm really encouraged by the punt team in the last four or five practices," Schiano said at the end of the spring. "I was really discouraged on the first eight or so. I kept waiting for it to come and it just didn't, but patience paid off. I think we protected better and I think we punted the ball much better. Will Anthony (DiPaula) be the guy? I don't know. We'll figure that all out when we get to training camp. I thought the last four practices, he punted like a Division I punter."

At kicker, senior San San Te will need to find more consistency. In his first three seasons, Te is 44-for-65 on field goals.

With Dellaganna gone, it is likely that kickoffs become Te's responsibility as well this season.

"San San Te will have a good year," Schiano said after the spring. "San San will kick the ball well. We'll protect it well. I got aggravated the other day because there is no excuse for that. We do it every day. But we will be good on that team.

"I think San San has made an increased commitment since January to really be a master at his craft. If you are a kicker or a punter, you need to make a total commitment to that because that is a craft, a specialty skill. I think he will continue to do that this summer and really be ready to have a big year. We need him to have a great year. We need that from both our punter and our kicker. I think our kicker is in position to do that and our punter, we'll have to see."


Rutgers will be hard pressed to replace now Indianapolis Colt Joe Lefeged. Lefeged did his best Devin McCourty impression in the return and coverage game last season.

It is tough to project the new returner out of spring with a limited emphasis on kickoffs and punts, but here are a few names to keep an eye on to fight for the job:

Mason Robinson — The former running back has experience returning punts and kicks. A huge part of punt returning comes down to the trust of the coaching staff and, as a fifth-year senior, Robinson should have that.

Jordan Thomas — Also at a new position, Thomas has the speed and experience at kick returner to earn playing time. But at a position he has never played before, Thomas may end up red-shirting.

Miles Shuler and Tejay Johnson — If either freshman finds the field, tremendous speed makes both receivers legitimate threats.

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