Spring Time: Redshirt Freshmen to Watch

Spring break ends and camp begins next week with Rutgers looking to take another step forward in coach Kyle Flood's second season. Flood's first recruiting class has had a year to develop in the Rutgers system and there are multiple redshirt freshmen ready to step into impact roles.

Rutgers has a history of redshirt freshmen making a dynamic impact and 2013 should be no difference. Brandon Coleman and Jawan Jamison broke out at their respective positions as redshirt freshmen in 2011 and Nick Borgese went from an afterthought to a game-winning kick last year.

That development takes place in bowl practices and in the spring. After red-shirting all but three true freshmen last year, coach Kyle Flood has a strong crop of players this spring with chances to step up.

5.) OT Chris Muller -- Muller was a coveted tackle prospect and has now had a full season to see the speed of the game and shape his body. Derrick Nekson was the most "college ready" of the five offensive line prospect in last year's recruiting class, but Muller developed well and comes at a position of need.

Muller worked at guard and tackle as a freshman, but should be one of many to compete for the open right tackle spot this spring.

4.) OLB Steve Longa -- Longa pushed hard for playing time as a true freshman and was on the two-deep as late as October without seeing the field. Longa improved his play as the season went on and is another player that will start to see benefits now that he has experience at a higher level of competition.

Longa brings special teams ability and a strong blitzing presence at a position of need.

3.) MLB Quanzell Lambert -- On the topic of positions of need, middle linebacker is toward the top of the list and Lambert has already pushed for playing time once before going down in training camp with a high-ankle sprain.

Overshadowed in some ways by late commitments from Darius Hamilton and Ian Thomas, Lambert was a huge get for Rutgers as a true middle linebacker and will get his biggest chance to run the defense this spring. As a starter or reserve, Lambert will play a lot this season. He is quick off the ball in moving to the line of scrimmage and has impressive tackling capabilities. Seeking to replace three-year starter Steve Beauharnais, Lambert is one of the leading candidates on the roster.

2.) WR Ruhann Peele -- Peele does not have the size or high-school background of the other receivers that came in as a part of the class of 2012 but stole the show at every opportunity in training camp, on the practice squad and in bowl practices.

Peele received praise from his quarterbacks and his head coach on a consistent level for the impact he made. Wide receiver remains deep but Peele will get his chance this spring.

1.) DE Julian Pinnix-Odrick -- Rutgers needs weapons off the edge and Pinnix-Odrick can factor immediately into the two-deep this spring. Pinnix-Odrick was a multi-time scout team player of the week and Rutgers lost the majority of its depth at the position at the end of last season.

Pinnix-Odrick checks in at 6-foot-5 250 pounds and will get plenty of opportunities to become a pass rusher at defensive end. He is athletic enough to fit at the "R" hybrid position but may project better as an end going into the season.

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