Top 25: RB Kordell Young (No. 25)

The start of training camp is less than a month away, and in counting down to its start is unveiling a new feature.'s Top 25 will examine the 25 most important players heading into the 2010 season, and it starts off with senior running back Kordell Young at No. 25. Each day another player will be profiled, culminating with the most important player of the 2010 season.

It is uncertain whether senior running back Kordell Young's knee will be ready for the start of the season, let alone training camp, and both of his surgically repaired knees make it impossible for him to absorb the pounding of being an every-down back.

However, Young remains an integral part of Rutgers' offense because of his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and his understanding of pass protections and blitz pickup. begins its Top 25 Sunday, a 25-day countdown of the most important players for the Scarlet Knights as its creeps closer to the start of training camp in less than four weeks.

Checking in at No. 25 is Young, whose value is not easily measured in statistics.

Certainly, the 5-foot-9, 190-pound Young's career is nothing like he envisioned when he chose the Scarlet Knights on Jan. 27, 2006, but it doesn't mean he hasn't had an impact.

His three major knees surgeries, including the anterior cruciate ligament he tore against South Florida last season and underwent December surgery to repair it, limited his effectiveness and availability.

Young has carried 198 times for 77 8 yards (3.93 yards per carry) in his career, but his value as a leader is important, and his prowess as a third-down back make him valuable looking at the 2010 season.

Tom Savage is the most experienced quarterback in the Big East, but he's not a fifth-year senior with three years of starting under his belt. Savage is a sophomore, with 11 starts and 285 passes on his resume.

Young, a smart, instinctive blocker, was crucial to the offense as a third-down back last season. He was efficient in picking up the blitz before his season ended in the seventh game when he went down with a knee injury against South Florida. A week later Rutgers had trouble picking up the blitz and allowed nine sacks in a loss at Syracuse.

And despite playing in only seven of the 13 games, Young finished fifth in receiving with seven catches for 48 yards. He also carried nine times for 28 yards.

Rutgers already will have strong competition for the starting running back spot with Casey Turner and Joe Martinek leading the way, but a third-down back is needed. There will be options, but none with Young's experience and track record.

Given converting third downs are key to winning games, it makes Young's availability important.

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