Spring Warm Up: New Starters -- Defense

Rutgers sits less than two weeks away from its fourth spring under coach Kyle Flood. The Scarlet Knights said farewell to six starters from the 2014 season on defense, and we look at the new faces likely to step in during spring practice.

Position -- R Position

Projected Starter -- Junior Quanzell Lambert

Replaces -- David Milewski

Inside Scoop -- Not speedy enough at middle linebacker, Lambert brings more than enough burst at the R position, and his knowledge of linebacker gives him a coverage advantage at the hybrid position. Lambert finally has real experience at the position, and gets the majority of first-team reps here during spring camp.

Don’t Forget About -- Myles Nash

Position -- Nose Tackle

Projected Starter -- Sophomore Sebastian Joseph

Replaces -- Kenneth Kirksey

Inside Scoop -- It was not the smoothest transition from three-technique for nose, but Rutgers needs a guy with experience by the time Big Ten play begins. Joseph is where he needs to be physically. In the spring, the technique and playbook aspects have to catch up.

Don’t Forget About -- Kevin Wilkins

Position -- Middle Linebacker

Projected Starter -- Junior Isaiah Johnson

Replaces -- Kevin Snyder

Inside Scoop -- Rutgers is in much better standing after assistant Bob Fraser landed Johnson during a west coast recruiting trip in late 2014. Johnson was a full qualifier out of high school, but chose junior college for better scholarship options and the chance to transition from running back to linebacker. Johnson is a solid athlete, and moves well vertically. He has to show vocal leadership and horizontal closing speed in spring to lock down real playing time.

Don’t Forget About -- Steve Longa

Position -- Cornerback

Projected Starter -- Junior Anthony Cioffi

Replaces -- Gareef Glashen

Inside Scoop -- Cioffi likely joins classmate Nadir Barnwell as a spring starter. He has plenty of playing time experience, but most came because of injury or lack of performance during his first two years. Cioffi now makes the transition from special teams playmaker and spot starter to full-time guy.

Don’t Forget About -- Dre Boggs

Position -- Free Safety

Projected Starter -- Delon Stephenson

Replaces -- Johnathan Aiken

Inside Scoop -- From co-starter to full starter, Stephenson is all about safety after he bounced between the free position and cornerback for two years. Stephenson is good in coverage, but Rutgers has to be better in tackling at the third level as a unit. The former Sayreville star must also stay healthy after knee injuries last season.

Don’t Forget About -- Andre Hunt

Position -- Strong Safety

Projected Starter -- Red-shirt freshman Kiy Hester

Replaces -- Lorenzo Waters

Inside Scoop -- This will be one of the most interesting positions to watch over the next six months. Strong safety was a weakness for Rutgers against the run during a tough 2014 season for the defense. Hester spent his first semester at Rutgers after Miami transfer as a scout-team. It is unlikely for Hester to begin spring as a starter, but he has a strong chance to finish there.

Don’t Forget About -- Davon Jacobs

Scarlet Report Top Stories