Fresh Start: Spring Potential

Jobs are not won in spring camp, but every player reports to the field looking to make a statement. looks at 10 newcomers or 2013 non-factors that have a chance to do exactly that when camp begins next week.

Jobs are not won in spring camp, but every player reports to the field looking to make a statement. looks at 10 newcomers or 2013 non-factors that have a chance to do exactly that when camp begins next week.

There is no order because all 10 have something to prove and a change the outlook at of a position.

Quarterback Philip Nelson -- No, Nelson cannot play this season. He can, however, make his case for a highly anticipated 2014 quarterback battle. If all goes according to plan, Gary Nova will be gone, Chris Laviano will have playing experience, Mike Dare will be enrolled and Mike Bimonte will be a fifth-year senior. Nelson did not leave Minnesota for lack of performance, and has a chance for a fresh start after an impressive two seasons in the Big Ten.

Quarterback Chris Laviano -- Laviano performed well in bowl practices, and is improving as someone that commands respect in the huddle. Laviano is best positioned to unseat Nova as the Rutgers starting quarterback. He has no in-game experience, and minimal work under center with the ones. That changes this spring, where is projects to get more than a fair chance to win playing time in front of coach Kyle Flood and offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen.

Running back Desmon Peoples -- Do not write Peoples off. Fumbles got the best of him as a true freshman. The little things kept him off the field for most of 2013. Now going into his third season, Peoples has his best chance yet to earn a role in the Rutgers offense. Veterans Paul James and Savon Huggins are not going to have major roles in spring camp. That leaves Peoples with a significant opportunity to earn playing time. He needs to show Friedgen that he can learn the playbook and protect the football without losing his explosion. He and fellow sophomore Justin Goodwin will make for good scrimmage competition at the position.

Guard Dorian Miller -- Miller has the chance to build on a strong showing in bowl practices. Rutgers needs a viable option behind Betim Bujari. It also needs guard depth following the departures of Andre Civil, Antwan Lowery and Chris Fonti. Look for Miller and J.J. Denman to get the first opportunities.

Tackle Marcus Applefield -- Arguably the biggest get in the Rutgers 2014 recruiting class, Applefield is on campus and eager to get going for his first spring campaign. Rutgers has established starters at both tackle spots, but little behind it. Applefield can get plenty of reps, and make a push for playing time in the process.

Tight end Logan Lister -- Rutgers needs a blocker to replace the production of Paul Carrezola. Nick Arcidiacono has the playing time edge, but was solely a receiving threat as a true freshman. Taylor Marini comes off shoulder surgery with something to prove this spring. Lister is borderline tackle size at tight end. The Scarlet Knights might need him early to spark the running game in two-tight end sets.

Defensive end Julian Pinnix-Odrick -- Rutgers needs more every-down options at the position, and Pinnix-Odrick would have been a key face in the mix last season if not for injury. Healed after ACL surgery, Pinnix-Odrick returns this spring with a chance for major playing time. He tore a knee ligament last spring, and returned to drills in bowl practices after surgery.

Defensive end Kemoko Turay -- Turay was an extremely entertaining part of 2013 training camp and scout team work. Incredible athleticism had him all over the field, and now he has more weight and knowledge to go with it. Look for the raw Turay to, at worst, be a third-down option at pass rusher for the Scarlet Knights.

Defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph -- Joseph truly looks the part of a Big Ten defensive tackle after nine months in the weight room. He sniffed the field briefly in 2013, and could climb as high as a starting role in 2014. Joseph works as an understudy to Darius Hamilton in many ways, but has more size than his all-conference counterpart. Kenneth Kirksey is a walking question mark at nose tackle, and Daryl Stephenson is the only other interior lineman with real experience. Look for Joseph to get a big chance to shine in the spring under line coach Jim Panagos.

Defensive back Bryant Gross-Armiento -- As often as Anthony Cioffi, Nadir Barnwell and Delon Stephenson played as true freshmen, Gross-Armiento was ahead of all of them in training camp before an untimely injury. Safety or cornerback is not yet determined, but he is certainly a young name to watch in the defensive secondary.

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