The Competition -- Rutgers has a starter in place, and two hungry bodies in competition for the rest of the reps in the defensive line rotation. Quanzell Lambert stepped up in the offseason, and now steps into a well-deserved spotlight. Lambert runs very well at the position, and covers well when asked. The converted middle linebacker showcased versatility in spring when he started at nose tackle for the final week, but the hybrid R position is his home.
Rutgers worked Kemoko Turay at both defensive end positions in spring to get him on the field as much as possible. The staff also moved strongside linebacker Myles Nash to the R position. Nash is up more than 50 pounds since he committed to Rutgers, and has good length and athleticism at the position.
Storyline Central -- As college football offenses change, so must the R position at Rutgers. The Rutgers defense is about speed, swarm and putting players in the best position to make plays. Mismatches work both ways and the fewer defensive ends in coverage against slot receivers, the better. The R position is a staple of the Rutgers defense dating back to Greg Schiano, and creates unique opportunities for players like Ka’Lial Glaud, David Milewski and Marvin Booker.
Prospect Development -- With the athleticism of a tight end, Ron’Dell Carter fits well into the hybrid role. He joined the program shortly after he appeared in the Big 33 All-Star game, and needs time to grow into a Big Ten player. Carter was a two-way athlete in high school. He could see a similar role at Rutgers until based on need for his services.
Preseason Grade -- B -- Rutgers has good depth, and Lambert brings a similar versatility to the departed Milewski. But at its essence, defensive ends have to get to the quarterback and Lambert has 2.5 sacks in his two on-field season. In his first full-time role, he needs more experience.