Special Teams Playing Time Wide Open for Rutgers

Rutgers coach Chris Ash discusses where things stand for place kicker, punter and long snapper heading into training camp.

From quarterback to water boy, every position is about competition for Rutgers coach Chris Ash in his culture-changing offseason.

That includes special teams, where Rutgers replaces multiple starters in 2017.

The most-notable battle comes at kicker after Kyle Federico ended his four-year career. David Bonagura was the last man standing for spring camp before preferred walk-on Jared Smolar entered the fray in May.

It's an open competition,” Ash said. “... David hasn’t done anything consistently enough to say, ‘Hey, you are the starting kicker at Rutgers,’ yet. Will he hopefully earn that through the course of training camp? Yeah, we’ll see. But yeah, it’s gonna be a competition.”

Bonagura's spring ended with an “exceeds expectations” grade from the examiners.

Smolar committed to Rutgers during an official visit after Signing Day, however, with plans of immediate competition.

I thought David did a great job throughout the course of spring in terms of being more consistent, and being counted on to make some kicks that we didn't think he could make early on in spring,” Ash said. “Those spots are all open competition.”

Michael Cintron and Alan Lucy have leads at punter and long snapper respectively. Tim Gleeson (back) returns to the punter battle in camp with Alex Hutchings and Matt Sportelli eager for an opportunity behind Lucy.

Cintron, Gleeson and quarterback Zach Allen all have holder experience after Joey Roth and Mike Bimonte played the role over the last two seasons.

We still have competition there because, again, some of the injuries. Gleeson was not able to go during spring practice, so we're not sure what he can do. We have competition for long snapper. We have to identify a consistent long snapper for us. 

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