Two-Deep Analysis: LB Lester Liston

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 Lester Liston.

Out of Grand Blanc, Mich., via Hargrave Military Academy, Lester Liston enrolled at Rutgers a semester early and made the most out of his opportunity. Liston had a relationship with defensive coordinator Dave Cohen dating back more than two years and decided to follow his lead to Rutgers.

Liston was one of five freshmen to enroll for spring practice, where he got a head start at middle linebacker.

Spring Performance -- Liston started at the bottom of the depth chart and earned more time as the spring played out. He saw first- and second-team action by the end of camp. Playing primarily middle linebacker, Liston showed to be a solid tackler and quick learner.

Though the stats hold little meaning, Liston led the roster with nine tackles in the spring game.

Expected 2013 Role -- Liston's early enrollment at a position of need puts him in a good spot to see the field. He fits the mold of a Big Ten middle linebacker and can expect to see time developing behind Steve Longa and Kevin Snyder at the position.

Scouting Report -- Liston is a grown man at linebacker. He has the physical maturity and work ethic of an upper classman after pushing himself through Hargrave Military Academy to get eligible. He brings ideal Big Ten size to middle linebacker at 6-foot-2, 225 and is in significantly better shape now than when he arrived at Rutgers in January.

On the field, Liston is vocal and presents himself as a leader. He closes quickly to the line of scrimmage and does not miss tackles. Liston can make big hits and has enough speed to compete in coverage.

There is plenty of room for improvement in his technique, but the athleticism is there. Liston can get better in closing to the outside and has to spend more time in the playbook before he can be trusted as the "quarterback of the defense" in Cohen's scheme.

The Bottom Line -- Guys like Snyder and Steve Beauharnais found a way to make an impact as a true freshman and Liston should be the next in line if he takes care of business in training camp.

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