Top 25: TE Paul Carrezola (No. 17)

Rutgers didn't get much production from its tight ends in 2009, but that should not be the case. One of the more noticeable players in spring practice was red-shirt freshman Paul Carrezola, who is poised to make the position on of strength again. For that reason, Carrezola is No. 17 in's Top 25 countdown of the most important players for the 2010 season.

Marco Battaglia, L.J. Smith, Clark Harris and Kevin Brock all played tight end at Rutgers and made it to the NFL, and the position is traditionally one of strength.

Last season that was not the case, but things should begin to get back to normal this season with D.C. Jefferson and red-shirt freshman Paul Carrezola.

Truth be told, if Carrezola wasn't battling through a pair of injuries early last season, he likely would have played rather than red-shirt.

However, healthy and with an offseason and spring practice on his resume, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Carrezola is in position to make an impact in the Rutgers offense, which is why he ranks No. 17 on the countdown of's Top 25 most important players for the 2010 season.

Given how Carrezola developed as a blocker in the spring, and given how he can get down the field and how well he catches the ball, he should contend with Jefferson for the starting tight end spot.

Carrezola also has one thing working in his favor that Jefferson, a converted quarterback does not, and that is a sound base for playing the position. When Carrezola was being recruited out of Neshaminy High (Langhore, Pa.), it was to play tight end.

As a junior he burst onto the scene after catching 18 passes for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He chose the Scarlet Knights over Pittsburgh, Iowa and North Carolina State, and each of those schools saw's No. 22-rated tight end of the 2009 class as an offensive player.

Given the struggles at tight end last season – be it with Shamar Graves, Jefferson, Evan Lampert or Tony Trahan – the opportunity presented itself for Carrezola to play.

But a preseason hamstring injury derailed his training camp, and the injury crept into his lower back and cost him the early part of the season. By the time he was healthy enough to practice and play, the season was half over and the coaching staff decided not to burn his red-shirt season for a handful of games.

Now, coming off a strong spring in which he displayed his pass-catching ability and his blocking improved substantially, Carrezola is poised to make an impact as a tight end. His size and speed will make him a tough match-up for defenses, if he can do one thing …relax.

Carrezola told in the spring he would get anxious on plays, and not let things develop naturally.

If he does that, the combination of Carrezola and Jefferson could add intrigue when the Scarlet Knights lineup in a two tight end set.

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