PISCATAWAY, N.J. — When Rutgers coach Greg Schiano announced the depth chart for the first game of the season, junior Brandon Jones emerged as one of two winners of the cornerback battle.
Jones, going into his fourth season at Rutgers, earned a spot on the first team alongside sophomore Logan Ryan and is poised for his first career start in three days against North Carolina Central.
"I'm not wishing away time to prepare, but we live for 13 games and the first one can't get here soon enough," Jones said after Saturday's practice. "Myself and the rest of the team are still working hard, but I'm going to be ready for Thursday. It's going to be exciting."
Jones said he would prepare for the game the same way even if he was not a starter. But receiving the starting nod from Schiano is special to the Winslow Township High School product.
"It definitely means something that Coach trusts me enough to put me in that position," Jones said. "I've worked my whole career here to become a starter and I have that now if everyone goes well. I'm trying not to let my teammates down, so it means even more hard work now."
Jones played in 23 games the last two seasons as a reserve, but has never seen the type of significant playing time expected this season.
"I've learned a lot and I want to keep learning," Jones said. "From the meeting room, to the field, I'm learning the scheme and trying help everyone along with me. I'm just playing hard and giving everything I have on every play."
Between Jones and Ryan as starters and Marcus Cooper and Mason Robinson off the bench, Jones said he thinks "the sky is the limit" this season.
"We have a lot of talent," Jones said. "[The media] likes to talk about the wide receiving corps, but I like to think we have just as much talent. With us four, we can cover anybody. Preparing against these receivers, we're going to be ready for whatever the season throws at us."
Early today in his weekly press conference, Schiano said that he wants to use game captains before naming captains for the 2011 season.
When asked about team leadership Saturday, Jones said he sees it spread across the secondary and would support game captains.
"We've all been here three or four years," Jones said of the secondary. "Then you have Mason [Robinson], who is new to the position, but has been here since '07. We have a lot of people that can lead, but more importantly, we have a lot of people who want to be leaders."
Jones Named CB Starter for Opener
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