Two-Deep Breakdown: OL Taj Alexander

Spring camp is over and the Rutgers football team is back on campus for summer classes and workouts. Coming out of the spring, is here to individually break down every expected member of the summer two-deep. Today, we continue momentum toward camp with a look at right guard Taj Alexander.

Taking an in-depth, individual look at the key members of the roster, today looks at sophomore Taj Alexander, who begins training camp as a first-team guard.

Past Experience — Alexander has yet to see the field through his first two seasons. He spent his first year and change working as a defensive lineman before former coach Greg Schiano moved him to tackle midway through last season. At tackle, Alexander emerged as a competitor for second-team reps by the end of the season and made it onto coach Kyle Flood's first two-deep going into the spring.

As a Recruit — Alexander ranked in as a two-star tackle in the Class of 2010, but was recruited by Rutgers to begin his career as a defensive lineman. Alexander committed to Rutgers after a November visit during his senior year.

Spring Performance — Alexander was one of the biggest booms of the spring for the Scarlet Knights. Settling in as an offensive lineman after a mid-season move last year, Alexander began the spring on the two-deep as the starting right tackle.

Alexander impressed Flood and offensive line coach Damian Wroblewski with his play to the point where he moved to guard to stay in the starting rotation. Although Alexander played well at right tackle, fifth-year transfer student R.J. Dill brings more experience to the position and projects as the starter.

Alexander's best chance at playing time after two years on the bench will be by honing his skills as a guard.

Does Well — Alexander brings two important traits to being a successful offensive lineman – toughness and intelligence. Alexander is a grinder in the trenches and, although he is not yet the strongest of linemen, he has shown he can get the job done on a semi-regular basis against the Rutgers ones.

Alexander is a quick study and has a strong understanding of the scheme to the point where moving to guard will not be a major adjustment mentally.

Needs to Improve — Alexander has no in-game experience as an offensive lineman and no amount of practice time can fully prepare him for that role. Alexander has an understanding of the basics of offensive line, but has said himself that there are a lot of details with his footwork and technique that need to improve during training camp.

Essentially, Alexander needs more experience at the position and to continue to improve in the weight room.

Long-Term Outlook — Playing time this season will be a battle for Alexander, but he is expected to see the field in some capacity. Alexander is currently one of Flood's "best five," but that is subject to change with many new arrivals and health changes in training camp.

Alexander's initial progress as an offensive lineman has been impressive and he will factor into the mix for Rutgers.

Here is the latest interview with Alexander.

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