Spring Time: Key Returners

Spring football is fast approaching and ScarletReport.com is here to preview all of the action heading to Piscataway. Today, we look at the top impact players returning this spring.

5.) S Lorenzo Waters -- Rutgers needs some semblance of a veteran presence in the defensive secondary and Waters is a poster child for in-season development. Waters struggled early in the 2012 season to the point where Wayne Warren saw a lot more time at safety. But as the season progressed, Waters showed steady improvement throughout the season and finished as a 13-game starter with 68 tackles. He finished fifth in tackles and is second among returning players.

3.) Merrell Twins -- Yes, putting both Jamil and Jamal Merrell here is cheat, but both are crucial to the 2013 Rutgers defense's success. Jamal Merrell, a converted wide receiver, emerged as a physical presence at strong-side linebacker and brings an impressive special teams resume to the table along with two years of starting experience at linebacker. Khaseem Greene is gone, which make's Merrell's role even more crucial defensively. He improved in pass coverage this season and has a knack for being in the right position to make plays.

Jamil Merrell showed that he can be effective inside and outside. With three defensive ends gone from last year's roster, he will likely be needed as a pass rushing option. Rutgers has sufficient young depth at 3-technique but needs a top-end pass rusher off the edge. His 6.5 career sacks are the most on the active roster.

2.) WR Brandon Coleman -- Coleman started pushing the school's receiver records as a redshirt sophomore and has himself in position to break the marks set by guys like Tim Brown, Kenny Britt, Tiquan Underwood and Mohamed Sanu. In two career years, the 6-foot-6 specimen has 60 catches for 1,270 yards and 16 touchdowns. For the record, the career marks are held by Sanu (210 receptions), Britt (3,043 yards) and Brown (20 touchdowns).

1.) RB Savon Huggins -- Based on a combination of need and talent, Huggins has a lot of pressure on his shoulders when it comes to the 2013 season. Rutgers likes to run the ball … a lot. And Huggins brings both a five-star background and represents 71 percent of the career rushing attempts on the roster.

Huggins is 175 for 556 and seven touchdowns in his first two seasons and the hope for Rutgers is that he doubles that by the midway point in the 2013 season. Huggins will get a major durability test this spring and 15 practices to work on improving his all-around game, including receiving and blitz pickup. By the time training camp rolls around, Huggins should be the most valuable offensive piece on the roster.


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