Monday Notebook: Roster & Position Changes

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Two departures, one returning player, injury updates and opening a second spring practice are the news highlights of Rutgers coach Kyle Flood's Monday pre-spring press conference. For those that could not follow all of the breaking news on the LeGrand Stand, ScarletReport.com breaks down all of the news inside.

Defensive end Max Issaka and safety Sheldon Royster left the program before winter workouts, and coach Kyle Flood made the announcement public the day before spring practice begins.

Issaka and Royster both missed the New Era Pinstripe Bowl because of suspensions, and neither projected to push for major playing time this spring.

"Obviously, both guys were suspended for the bowl game," Flood said. "I think they had an opportunity to move their careers and maybe start anew. And I would leave it at that."

Issaka missed much of his three-year Rutgers career with injuries and off-the-field issues. The Woodbridge (N.J.) product missed a training camp because of a death in the family and the Pinstripe Bowl via suspension. He made six tackles in 10 career games.

Royster transferred to Rutgers after an unsuccessful stint at South Carolina. He never pushed for time on the two-deep, but took the field in four games this season.

Both players were on scholarship.

Pollard Returns

Sophomore defensive tackle Jamil Pollard will be back on the field for Rutgers this spring. Pollard was not a part of the roster last season because of what Flood described as a career-ending injury.

"Jamil was not able to perform last year and was not able to be with us," Flood said. "He came back to me and said ‘coach I would like to come back to the team, I think I can' and at that point it really becomes a medical issue. Once the doctors clear him to come back, we're excited to welcome him back.

"When he first came to us last year I thought he had a bright future for us. He went through our winter workouts and I've been really impressed with what I've seen so far."

The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder out of West Deptford (N.J.) has three years of eligibility remaining.

Offseason Injury Report

Rutgers football will continue its injury report policy moving into the 2014 season. Releasing an updated chart prior to Flood's pre-spring press conference, senior running back Savon Huggins is the biggest name out for spring.

Huggins is out and in a sling after offseason shoulder surgery.

Other injury notes include limited springs for running back Paul James (shoulder), tight end Tyler Kroft (shoulder), defensive end Quanzell Lambert (shoulder), tight end Logan Lister (ankle), linebacker L.J. Liston (hamstring), linebacker Steve Longa (lower body) and defensive end David Milewski (lower body).

Walk-on defensive back Mezo Cooper is out for the spring with a knee injury.

Saturday Circus

Rutgers is opening up Saturday March 29 to both fans and recruits. The final underclassman visitor day of the spring for the Scarlet Knights will be open to fans. More details are coming on opening up practice No. 3, which will not be a padded practice.

"We will open up that practice to the public and give them an opportunity to come out and see these players," Flood said. "We've done that in the preseason before but we haven't done it in the spring other than the spring game so it's a good opportunity for the public and fans come out and see the players, see how they're progressing – some of the younger players they got to watch last year and some that they didn't get a chance to see that I think they‘re going to be excited to see."

Galiano Returns

Flood formally announce the return of Phil Galiano to the football program, which was reported this morning on the LeGrand Stand. Galiano will serve as an assistant director of player development.

"I think he's going to make our program better," Flood said. "I think he did so in the past and he's somebody that when first becoming the head coach I tried to keep here but the lure of the NFL took pulled him away from us and about two years later we were able to get him back."


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