Analysis: Spring Two-Deep

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers coach Kyle Flood released his pre-spring two-deep today with plenty of new names, new positions and competition set for the spring. is here to break down the two-deep position by position.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers has eight starters returning on offense and eight more on defense from last season. With another series of spring practices kicking off in less than a week, looks at the depth chart released today by coach Kyle Flood.

For a look at the complete depth chart, check the message boards.


Quarterbacks — Junior Chas Dodd and sophomore Gary Nova will make for one of the more exciting position battles of the season. Both are at full health and listed as co-starters going into the spring. Both have big-time wins under their belt as starters and backgrounds as extremely successful high school quarterbacks. Bottom Line: Whichever quarterback wins the job, competition will make both better. Flood should use the spring to see what he has in both, so he can have a decision made early in training camp.

Running Backs — Sophomores Jawan Jamison and Savon Huggins are in similar situations to Nova and Dodd. Both have had success in the past with one standing out as a top recruit and the other flying under the radar. Spring will be a time for both to get acclimated to a new offensive coordinator and running backs coach. Bottom Line: Unlike quarterback, both Jamison and Huggins are locks for playing time during the season. More interestingly, the question in the spring is how the depth shakes out behind them with players like Paul James and Ben Martin.

FullbacksMichael Burton emerged as a major talent at fullback last season and will continue to improve this season. Behind Burton, Robert Joseph and former linebacker Sam Bergen will compete for second-team reps. Bottom Line: Burton is going to be a weapon for Rutgers this season. Enough said.

Wide Receivers — Senior Mark Harrison and sophomore Brandon Coleman emerge as first-team players with experience as big-time weapons for Dodd and Nova. Harrison struggled last season, but went off for 829 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore. Coleman exploded onto the scene late last season and finished with 552 yards and six touchdowns.

Jeremy Deering, Tim Wright and Quron Pratt all bring key depth as second-teamers. All three have histories of strong spring performances within the program. Bottom Line: All of the older receivers have something to work on, whether it is hands, confidence or route-running. The key for the spring will be for younger players like the speedy Miles Shuler to learn the position and get used to working with Brock. Shuler will be a big-time playmaker, but he needs the time to develop. That is what makes spring practice important.

The Offensive Line — As always, spring will be a time to try out many different combinations of linemen, especially with bookend Kaleb Johnson out with a shoulder injury. Look for plenty of Andre Civil, Taj Alexander, Keith Lumpkin and R.J. Dill at the two tackle spots on the first team.

Inside, Dallas Hendrickson will get the bulk of work at center after his knee surgery and some time to improve in the weight room. Betim Bujari and David Osei are listed as the first-team guards, but keep an eye on players like Matt McBride and Antwan Lowery to find the field as well during the spring. Bottom Line Flood made the right decision by listing Dill as a backup. Dill said when he chose Rutgers that he wanted to earn his starting spot and now he will have to, with Alexander ahead of him at right tackle.


The Defensive Line: — End is much more of a concern than tackle going into the spring. Scott Vallone is out with a shoulder injury, which may be a blessing in disgusie. It allows less experienced tackles like Kenneth Kirksey, Isaac Holmes and Djwany Mera to soak up extra reps.

At defensive end, Jamil Merrell, Michael Larrow, Marcus Thompson and Ka'Lial Glaud all check in as former starters, but none performed at a consistent pace. All four struggled with injuries and two are converted linebackers. Bottom Line: No matter what happens this spring, everything changes with Vallone gets health and Darius Hamilton arrives on campus.

Linebackers: — After a gruesome leg injury in the Pinstripe Bowl, Khaseem Greene will not practice this spring. Another possible blessing in disguise, this allows both outside linebackers Jamal Merrell and Kevin Snyder to get a ton of work. Middle linebacker David Milewski will be limited behind started Steve Beauharnais, who may also be limited to a certain extend as an experience upperclassman.

Bottom Line:Greene, Snyder, Beauharnais and Merrell will all play — a lot. The real question is where the rest of the depth from. Will it be more experienced guys like Milewski and Quentin Gause or can Quanzell Lambert and Steve Longa show up and win instant playing time?

Defensive Backs: — Like linebacker, there is plenty of established depth with Logan Ryan, Brandon Jones, Marcus Cooper and Mason Robinson all returning this season. Ryan and Jones have the starting jobs pretty much locked up barring injury with Cooper, Robinson, Gareef Glashen, Johnathan Aiken and Tejay Johnson all in line for some playing time.

At safety, Duron Harmon, Lorenzo Waters and Wayne Warren will all see a ton of time. Bottom Line: Johnson (hernia) is the most unfortunate injury for Rutgers this spring. Johnson is in line for major playing time based on his size and athleticism, but will take another step back in his development without being able to see the field for his first spring practice.

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