Top 25: QB Chas Dodd (No. 9)

Any backup is always one snap away from playing, but when that backup may be a true freshman quarterback, it's a little more nerve-wracking. That is why incoming freshman Chad Dodd is No. 9 on's countdown of the Top 25 most important players for the 2010 season. He hasn't beat out Steve Shimko for the right to backup Tom Savage, but there is a strong possibility he will.

Incoming freshman quarterback Chas Dodd is yet to take a snap at Rutgers, and if everything works out perfectly in 2010, he won't take one.

Yet, the reality is the Scarlet Knights' rebuilt offensive line remains an enormous question, as does whether Steven Shimko can hold off the immensely talented Dodd and remain Tom Savage's backup.

Given Shimko's inconsistent spring and Dodd's arm strength, ability to pick up an offense quickly and his talent level, there is a good chance Dodd will be Tom Savage's backup in the fall.

And that means the 6-foot, 195-pound Dodd is one snap away from being Rutgers' starting quarterback, making him No. 9 in's Top 25 countdown of the most important players for the upcoming season.

In a pinch, Rutgers could survive for a few quarters running the "Wildcat" package with receiver Mohamed Sanu, but if a backup is needed for a protracted period of time, Dodd should be well in the mix.

He is strong-armed and reads defenses well. He is also a natural leader and comes pressure-tested after playing in a number of high-level games at national power Byrnes High of Duncan, S.C.

In fact, when he faced top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) in October, he threw for 424 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-34 loss. Dodd finished his senior season with 4,163 passing yards and 51 touchdowns. He completed 64.4 percent of his passes.

A three-year starter at Byrnes, Dodd was 42-3 and finished his career with 81 touchdowns and 10,292 passing yards. He was rated as the top quarterback in South Carolina by in the 2010 class.

Dodd isn't a coach's son, but he is a coach's stepson, and it serves him well in his study habits. Bobby Bentley was the head coach at Byrnes earlier this decade, spent a few years in the college ranks, and returned as Byrnes' offensive coordinator last season.

Dodd got a sniff of Rutgers' offense when he spent a week of the spring on campus. He watched the quarterbacks workout, spoke with the coaching staff and began learning the concepts of an offense that is very similar to what Byrnes ran.

It is not a given he will be Savage's backup, especially since he still has to learn the offense and prove he can physically and mentally handle the heavy installation process of training camp. But the coaching staff proved last season it knew how to handle a freshman quarterback when Savage took over and was not asked to do too much in the offense.

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