Friday Practice Report: Starters Emerge

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers coach Chris Ash's final media availability of training camp included new starter announcements and a detailed breakdown of his first August with the Scarlet Knights.

The Headline – Two linebacker battles are over but the third is perhaps the most interesting competition on the defensive side of the ball.

 Trevor Morris and Deonte Roberts are set at weakside and middle linebacker respectively, but the strongside position is undecided at the end of training camp.

Converted safety Najee Clayton entered camp as the favorite, however, the Paramus (N.J.) Catholic product played behind walk-on Greg Jones of Colonia in the final week of camp.

“Still a little bit of a battle at our SAM outside linebacker between Greg Jones and Najee Clayton, but really it's those four guys that are in competition for the three spots.”

Jones moved from running back to defense last season. He walked on at Rutgers last year after multiple stops at lower-level schools.

“We don't have anybody that's ever played a snap in a game, so nobody's earned a spot yet at that position,” Ash said. “He's just shown relentless effort. He's always around the ball, does stuff right, tough as nails. Najee is a lot of those things also, so they're competing together. They're pushing each other.”

Worth Noting – Ash named David Bonagura as his starting kicker and Michael Cintron as his punter for the opener against Washington.

Quote of the Day – “At the end of the day it all comes down to who the coaches trust the most to do the job. I don't know if I really saw this happening. I've waited for it. I've waited three years for it and I never gave up on it because, at first, I love the school. I don't want to ever leave this school. At the same time, I love the guys on the team. I wouldn't want to leave them.” – Bonagura on winning the kicking job.

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