Spring Performance -- It was a slow adjustment for Stephenson in his first spring camp, but he finished strong, which is what coach Kyle Flood likes to see. Stephenson showed flashes of his play-making ability, including a down-the-field interception against Miles Shuler at the end of the spring game. Injuries to other corners forced Stephenson into first- and second-team action by the end of the spring, which will serve him well during summer workout development and training camp.
Expected 2013 Role -- Stephenson's head start gives him a great chance to see the field as a true freshman. A safety and tailback before college, he learned the ropes in spring and could contribute right away as a reserve defensive back and special teams weapon.
Scouting Report -- Size questions and lack of exposure held Stephenson back in high school, but his skill set fits perfectly into a Rutgers roster preparing for its move to the Big Ten. Stephenson is versatile and can be a slot or running back weapon if depth is needed elsewhere. Stephenson grew significantly during his senior year and semester in prep school and 5-foot-11, 190-pound frame fits well into the Rutgers secondary.
Stephenson has impressive recovery speed, agility and runs well. He plays physically at the line of scrimmage and knows how to hit. The biggest concerns come with his lack of experience at the position. Stephenson needs to get used to flipping his hips in coverage and improve his technique. Ball skills improved in the spring but still need to get better.
On special teams, Stephenson is a natural with the ball in his hands and could contribute on punt returns or in kick coverage. With Jeremy Deering as a senior, Stephenson provides depth in the kick return game, where he dominated at Sayreville.
The Bottom Line -- Stephenson's versatility and athleticism make him the kind of early enrolled player any program could use. For Rutgers, he represents a cornerback option that needs to grow into his role on the defense and can contribute immediately on special teams.