But for the Rutgers football team, five players sent messages to coach Kyle Flood this spring that they can be relied on in their current role or are ready to do more when training camp rolls around.
5.) Sophomore SS Loreno Waters — Waters showed signs this spring of being the next standout in a strong line of impact safeties at Rutgers. From Courtney Greene to Joe Lefeged to Duron Harmon, safety has always been a crucial play-maker position in the Rutgers defense.
Inconsistencies in his first two years kept Waters off the field, but he turned on the "it factor" in 11-on-11 action this spring. Waters had some of the biggest hits on the team, forced fumbles and intercepted passes all spring and will be a part of a dangerous safety unit with Harmon and Wayne Warren.
4.) Freshman K Kyle Federico — Rutgers learned the importance of early special teams arrivals last year when punter Anthony DiPaula struggled all spring. The Scarlet Knights had time to hunt down Justin Doerner for a replacement and there were no major issues.
After 15 practices in the spring, there is no similar concern with Federico. In scrimmage situations the Ponte Vedra, Fla., native missed just one field goal all spring, and that was because of a mishandled exchange.
3.) Sophomore OL Taj Alexander — Here is an example of a player completely embracing a position change. Alexander dreamed of a career at defensive line, but was moved to the other side of the line last year under Greg Schiano.
Alexander put in six months of hard work at the position and is already in decent position to be a starter this season. The sophomore showed Flood what he brings to the table as a lineman and that he has the versatility to make an impact at tackle or guard.
2.) Sophomore RB Savon Huggins — When it came down to game-like situations, Huggins did not fumble once all spring. The former five-star recruit is running with more confidence and can expect a changed offensive line from last training camp.
Huggins showed Flood that backing down after a disappointing freshman year is not going to happen.
1.) Sophomore OLB Kevin Snyder — Linebacker depth was perhaps the biggest concern for the program going into the spring. Snyder not only showed he was ready for more work after a strong true freshman season, but he can do it at multiple positions.
Senior Khaseem Greene (leg) did not practice fully at the weakside linebacker position and reps became available in the middle after a move to defensive end by David Mmilewski.
Snyder used the spring to learn all three linebacker positions to the point where he can play at all three positions.
With depth a question and Greene coming off a gruesome injury in last year's bowl game, Snyder's versatility is a major upgrade for Flood's defense coming out of the spring.