Two-Deep Analysis: LB Steve Longa

With spring camp over, is ready to look ahead to training camp with an in-depth, daily look at the depth chart. Going player by player, we break down the key players of training camp with an in-depth look today at linebacker Steve Longa.

Steve Longa made the most of his redshirt semester and came on strong during bowl practices. Longa had the advantage of practice reps on the two-deep for Rutgers as a true freshman and stepped into a leadership role in his first spring camp.

Longa has the versatility to fill multiple linebacker roles and displayed that in camp under new defensive coordinator Dave Cohen.

Spring Performance -- Longa began the spring as a second-team outside linebacker but emerged as an option at the starting MIKE position midway through camp. The first-team defense was relentless against the run after the changes took place at linebacker with Longa making the calls.

At middle linebacker for the first time, Longa adjusted to the role. Out spring camp, finding a replacement for three-year starter Steve Beauharnais looks promising.

Expected 2013 Role -- Longa is the favorite to start alongside Kevin Snyder and Jamal Merrell and is now a lock for serious playing time. Look for freshmen Quanzell Lambert and Lester Liston to both make a move for the spot, and for Snyder to see more time there.

Linebacker will be a fierce camp battle with replacements for Beauharnais and two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year Khaseem Greene set for high expectations. Longa projected best as a weakside linebacker out of high school and could still work there in camp.

Scouting Report -- Longa has the footwork and lateral speed to close on either side of the line of scrimmage. The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder excels in the weight room and brings significant aggressiveness against the run.

Longa does not have a ton of football experience, especially at middle linebacker. To win the starting job, Longa has a lot of work to do in his playbook. The middle linebacker position, especially in an aggressive Rutgers scheme, is the quarterback of the defense and Longa has to get more comfortable.

The Bottom Line -- Longa has all of the physical tools and is off to a steady start at his new position.

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