Fresh Start: Early Enrollment

Rutgers added six players to its roster during early enrolment and all are available next week for the start of spring practice. Concluding its "fresh start" series, ScarletReport.com examines the new faces and expectations of the incoming spring freshmen.

Six Scarlet Knights enrolled early for the spring semester and are set to participate in spring practice. Kicking off Tuesday morning in Piscataway, Rutgers has varied expectations for the six new arrivals.

OT Marcus Applefield -- He finished as perhaps the biggest get in the 2013 recruiting class, and his early enrollment gives Applefield the chance earn playing time. Rutgers has five set starters on its offensive line, but has never hesitated to throw a true freshman into the mix similarly to Anthony Davis, Art Forst and Kaleb Johnson. Applefield has the physical tools, and the chance to win over new line coach Mitch Browning when spring begins.

2014 Expectations -- Chance to crack two deep

TE Logan Lister -- Rutgers needs to replace the blocking presence of Paul Carrezola in its two tight end sets. Lister is the most logical fit as a former offensive tackle and early enrollee. Nick Arcidiacono and Taylor Marini have the experience edge. However, Arcidiacono has to improve in blocking and Marini returns from mid-season shoulder surgery.

2014 Expectations -- Compete for blocking tight end role

DT Eric Wiafe --Wiafe is big, strong and raw. He made the most out of a semester in prep school and is eager to finally take the Rutgers practice field after signing in 2013. Wiafe projects to begin as a 3-technique defensive tackle in the Joe Rossi scheme. Losing four defensive linemen in the offseason, Wiafe brings some much needed depth for the spring. Pushing 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, Wiafe will showcase improvements for line coach Jim Panagos in the hopes of earning time at defensive tackle.

2014 Expectations -- Defensive tackle depth

LB Brandon Russell -- Rutgers has three impressive options as linebacker starters and at least four second-year linebackers ahead of Russell for spots on the two-deep. Russell's best chance at contribution comes at middle linebacker where only Steve Longa and L.J. Liston check in ahead of him, but that is a longshot in his first season. Russell's speed and versatility make him a prime candidate to step in on kickoff coverage. Quentin Gause filled that role for two seasons before getting his opportunity, and Russell may need to do the same with the young depth at the position.

2014 Expectations -- Special teams or redshirt

CB Kam Lott -- Lott did not let his 5-foot-9 frame stop him from a strong senior season and early enrollment at Rutgers. His size concerns put him at a disadvantage, but an extra 15 practices gives him an edge over other incoming defensive backs looking for early playing time. Rutgers has more bodies at cornerback than last season, but some are candidates to move to safety in camp. Lott's playing time depends on what he shows in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills as a cover corner and what happens with position changes.

2014 Expectations -- Special teams or redshirt

WR Ntwademela Perry -- Perry is a walk-on addition with minimal football experience coming from Star College Boys High School in South Africa. He graduated from high school at 17, and earned a preferred walk-on offer during summer camp at Rutgers. Wide receiver has depth concerns, but Perry is both a walk-on and someone that needs time to physically mature and learn the system.

2014 Expectations -- Scout team

Note: -- Rutgers coach Kyle Flood has already announced Ian Thomas as returning to the roster this spring. Other roster announcements traditionally come at the pre-spring press conference set for 4:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.


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