Top 25: CB David Rowe (No. 10)

David Rowe became the starter at one of the cornerback slots in the third game of the 2009 season, and didn't relinquish it. With Devin McCourty now in the NFL and Rutgers looking to replace him, Rowe's experience and leadership is vital. It is why he is No. 10 on's countdown of the Top 25 most important players for the 2010 season.

Devin McCourty is not on the other side of the field, not manning the other cornerback position, which means coverages won't be rolled away from him and toward David Rowe much in 2010.

In fact, if the Rutgers coaching staff elects to roll coverages this season and give more safety help to a cornerback, it will likely be away from David Rowe and toward the other cornerback, either Logan Ryan or Brandon Bing.

So, Rowe's role increases this season, and his responsibility grows with it. Those issues, as well as his need to increase his leadership and his experience at a play-making position, the now-veteran Rowe slots in at No. 10 on's countdown of the Top 25 most important players for the upcoming season.

The 6-foot, 195-pound Rowe is technically sound, but not a classic speed corner, and that could impact how the Scarlet Knights play in the secondary. Leaving him isolated man-to-man with a speedy receiver could have dire consequences if the receiver gets a step on him since Rowe does not have classic closing speed.

However, Rowe is a technically sound cornerback who had a terrific sophomore season as he moved into a starting role after the second game of the 2009 season. He can jam at the line of scrimmage, reads routes well and competes hard.

His speed, which he told last season was 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, can be masked with his penchant to play technically sound football.

With teams trying to keep away from McCourty last season, Rowe saw plenty of action and finished with 36 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, and a pair of interceptions. He also had seven pass break-ups, which was second on the team to McCourty's 10.

It followed a freshman season in which Rowe gained important experience as a defensive back in Rutgers' nickel packages.

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