Training Camp Preview: Offensive Line

Although the offensive line is seemingly set with all five starters returning from the end of last season, there is still plenty to look out for this summer at the start of training camp. And that starts with junior Howard Barbieri.

Rutgers Football head coach Greg Schiano already knows what he's going to get from his starters with junior Anthony Davis and senior Kevin Haslam manning the two tackle spots, sophomores Caleb Ruch and Art Forst at the guard spots and senior Ryan Blaszczyk at center. All five will likely benefit from another year together, but what happens should one of them go down?

The true players to watch on the line this summer are those who serve as the immediate backups to the starters.

Barbieri, who has starting experience from last season as both a guard and tackle, can serve as a potential sixth man for the Knights this season with ability to fill at both tackle and guard if needed.

Other than Barbieri, the two to watch are a pair of third-year sophomores in Desmond Stapleton and Desmond Wynn.

Stapleton, the brother of Super Bowl Champion and former Scarlet Knight Darnell Stapleton, has spent the last two seasons on the practice squad, but with the departure of Mike Gilmartin and his numerous reps with the second team in the spring, Stapleton has a great chance to see playing time this season.

Wynn also spent his first two seasons on the Banks with the practice squad, but made the greatest strides of any offensive player this spring, earning the Mark Mills Second Effort Award for Most Improved Offensive Player.

"Desmond has really embraced his role as an offensive lineman," Blaszczyk said of his peer. "He really started to commit and work and he's really started to make strides. He's not where he needs to be yet, but we still have all summer to work and he's definitely improved."

The only addition to a very deep offensive line this summer comes in the form of Jamal Wilson — a three-star recruit from Brooklyn, N.Y. Scout.com ranks the 6'6" South Shore High School native as the 45th best tackle in the 2009 recruiting class.

Wilson told SOR Feb. 9 that he was one math course away from joining Andre Civil and Mohamed Sanu as early enrollees and has spent his time before training camp preparing his body for what's to come at the college level.

"I have been weight lifting and running every day," Wilson said to SOR. "I am also doing footwork and hand placement drills … They are expecting me to lose some weight, right now I am not sure how much. I am at 344lbs. (But) I would like to report in the 315lbs to 325lbs range."

Make sure to also see previous Training Camp Preview installments:
Linebackers
Defensive Secondary
Quarterbacks

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