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Rutgers Football: Ten Players That Need Big Spring Performances

Double G Sports polled some of the best Rutgers football writers on the internet to get their opinions on which players need to have big spring performances this year. In total, 31 players were mentioned by the six writers polled. To me, that says there are a lot of question marks heading into spring camp.

Greg Schiano and the Rutgers University football program kicks off spring practice Monday March 28th. This year brings a lot of changes to the program, from coaches to new player positions, and the anticipation of a highly regarded freshman class. While most of the freshman are not eligible to participate in spring workouts, there are a number of players that will be looked at to perform well.

Double G Sports polled some of the best Rutgers football writers on the internet to get their opinions on which players need to have big spring performances this year. In total, 31 players were mentioned by the six writers polled. To me, that says there are a lot of question marks heading into spring camp.

Using the top ten lists from each writer, I was able to come up with a final list of the Top Ten Players That Need Big Spring Performances for Rutgers…

1. Chas Dodd – QB

Dodd is entering his sophomore season and will likely be the starter again. He took over the position after early season struggles and injuries to Tom Savage last season. Savage has since transferred to Arizona. Dodd will be learning a brand new system this season and will get the bulk of the snaps in spring practice. He must perform well in order to hold off incoming freshman Gary Nova.  Jayson Love of Bleacher Report asks, “In his first camp as the starter, can Dodd take the reigns of this team as a sophomore?”

2. Manny Abreu – DE

In 2007, Abreu came in as the #2 weakside linebacker prospect in the country. He has not performed to those expectations of yet. Now a senior, Abreu is moving to defensive end. He must show some play making ability and with his speed and strength he could make an impact at a position that lacks depth. Ed Jacko of Double G Sports and BigEastFootballExtra.com says, “More than anyone else on the defensive side of the ball, Manny Abreu has got to show some glimpses of that talent that made him the #4 recruit from the state of New Jersey in 2007.”

D.C. Jefferson, #10

3. Dallas Hendrickson – C

Hendrickson is a junior college transfer that many expect to come in and start immediately. The offensive line was a disaster last season and finding a center to anchor it is very important. The O-Line desperately needs a leader and with his experience at the JuCo level, Hendrickson could be the guy. Jon from OnTheBanks.com agrees by saying Hendrickson “Needs to stabilize a revamped offensive line.”

4. D.C. Jefferson – TE

The tight end had a down year last year, some what due to the inconsistent play at quarterback.  He also had some issues with snap counts last season and was called for numerous penalties. With Rutgers going to a more traditional pro-style offense this season, the tight end with NFL potential, needs a big spring to get himself back in the flow. “There is no question about the receiving skills that Jefferson brings to the table, so it would be nice to see him get reintegrated into the offense this season,” says John Heinis of Bleacher Report

5. D’Antwan Williams – RB

Oh, where do we start? The Rocket clearly has the speed and power to be a force in the running game. As you all know, Double G Sports has been a big fan of Williams and constantly called for him to get more playing time. However, he has not seen much significant minutes so far in his career. Expect Rutgers to limit it’s “Wild Knight” packages this season, opening more opportunities for traditional running backs. Of Williams, Michael Redden of StateOfRutgers.com says, “With Savon Huggins coming in and Jeremy Deering moving to his position, Williams needs to prove that he is still a viable candidate for playing time at the running back position.”

Art Forst, #77

6. Art Forst – OL

Forst is a local product who came to Rutgers with high expectations. He has not performed to those levels despite having plenty of opportunities on the field. The talent has also been there, it’s just a matter of consistently putting it to use on the field. With a bad spring, Forst could drop on the depth chart.

7. Desmond Stapleton – OL

Stapleton is yet another offensive lineman on this list. The difference here however is he has actually shown some real promise. Stapleton has the ability to be a very good lineman and this spring could go a long way in planting himself along that all important O-Line. Michael Redden agrees, “I think he has the ability to be the leader of that group.”

8. Antwan Lowery – OL

Lowery has the potential to be a great lineman from the guard position. This spring is important as the Rutgers staff will look for him to make some strides and head into the season with momentum. Hopefully his conditioning issues are a thing of the past. It would be great to see Lowery really come on strong from the start. Another example of a lineman with potential.

9. Jeremy Deering – RB

Deering ran the wild cat for Rutgers last season and did a nice job, showing the ability to run out of the backfield. After coming in as a wide receiver, Deering is switching to running back this year. He will compete with D’Antwan Williams and incoming freshman stud Savon Huggins for carries. The spring will go a long way in determining if the position switch was a smart move. One way or another, you can expect Deering to see the field. “He will be counted on, as an incredible talent who saw a lot of action last season, to help jump start a pathetically anemic offense,” says Ed Jacko.

10. Logan Ryan – CB

Ryan needs a big spring to secure a starting spot in the Rutgers secondary. This kid has all the talent and tools to be a great corner and really help the Scarlet Knights have one of the best secondaries in the Big East. However, he has yet to put everything together and get significant time. Jon from OnTheBanks.com thinks Ryan needs a big spring performance saying he is “talented, if he can stay on the field.”

Of course you want to see every player have a good spring performance. These were just the guys us Rutgers writers thought would be most important. Some are players finally getting a chance to see the field and make an impact, others are ones which need a strong spring in order to keep their spot on the depth chart. Some other players mentioned by various writers are, Ka’Lial Glaud (LB), Anthony DiPaula (P), Brandon Coleman (WR), Malcolm Bush (TE), Khaseem Greene (LB), Desmond Wynn (OL), and Steve Beauharnais (LB).

I’d like to thank the following Rutgers writers for helping out with this article:

Michael Redden – StateOfRutgers.com

Ed Jacko – DoubleGSports.com and BigEastFootballExtra.com

Jon – On The Banks

Jayson Love – Bleacher Report

John Heinis – Bleacher Report

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