Spring Camp Recap: Team MVPs

Spring camp is complete and only final exams stand between Rutgers football and a few well-earned weeks of rest. Taking a look back at spring practice, ScarletReport.com examines five camp MVPs.

Rutgers pushed through a long list of injuries with 15 complete practices during the spring semester. Five players stood out as keystones of spring practice, and ScarletReport.com ranks them below.

5. Fifth-year senior center Betim Bujari -- Bujari was dominant in 1-on-1s and was key in the success of the running game this spring. Most importantly, however, is the fact that Bujari stayed healthy. Lower body injuries have held Bujari back multiple times in his career. That was not the case this spring, which becomes even more important with the departure of Dallas Hendrikson. Backup Derrick Nelson was ready to step in for a handful of plays, but Bujari carried the first-team workload in spring camp. And he did it well.

4. Junior wide receiver Leonte Carroo -- Limitations after late injuries last year did not stop Carroo from having a stellar spring. Carroo made every quarterback on the roster look better. Teammates sang his praises all camp as an emerging star at the position. Carroo primarily wore black, non-contact gear during spring camp. He worked often during 1-on-1s with cornerbacks unable to keep him contained. When Carroo starts full-contact work in training camp, watch out.

3. Sophomore linebacker Steve Longa -- Defensive coordinator Joe Rossi made the right recommendation in moving Longa to the weak side. Rutgers took its most active linebacker – a 2013 Freshman All-American – and moved him to the spot designed for making plays in Rossi's scheme. Longa and senior Kevin Snyder anchored a solid spring for the linebackers, and their leadership carried down to solid showings from youngsters T.J. Taylor, Myles Nash and L.J. Liston.

2. Sophomore running back Desmon Peoples -- From a fourth-teamer in bowl practices to the starting running back for the Scarlet Knights in spring, Peoples exploded onto the scene with clear improvements to his game. Peoples was always explosive, that's why Greg Schiano went hard after him during his final year as head coach. In the spring, Peoples showed improvements in durability, vision and playbook knowledge. Peoples turned heads almost every practice with a blitz pickup, and he broke off more big runs than anyone else on the roster. With Paul James, Savon Huggins and Justin Goodwin down, Peoples took advantage and could start training camp working with the twos because of it.

1. Junior defensive tackle Darius Hamilton -- Size mattered not when it comes to Hamilton and his body of work over the last six months. Hamilton increased his production significantly in the final third of the season, and it carried over into spring where he was the best defensive lineman on the roster. Hamilton stepped up as a leader. Instead of thinking, Hamilton was doing. Look for Hamilton to make a strong push for a team captain slot this training camp, and give Washington State problems at the end of August.


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