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2009 is just around the corner

For the most part, any conjecture about the 2009 Scarlet Knights at this point chiefly depends on speculation, and the occasional crumb fed by beatwriters, or from the handful of people on the internet with connections to the program. Since these early reports largely concur with each other, it's safe to assume that they're not based off pure conjecture.

Putting the QB and RB competitions aside for now, the first obvious point of intrigue is at receiver. Timmy Brown is probably locked in at one starting spot. While his game is very different from Kenny Britt's, Brown should be able to replace him as deep threat that can stretch the field. My bigger concern is where a possession receiver comes from. Dennis Campbell can play in the slot, but he doesn't seem like a good fit as a dependable checkdown guy. You'd want to see someone in this group with size emerge. Whether that's Cooper, Stroud, Hayes, Wright, or even DePaola, no one can say at this point.

There's a similar question mark at tight end. Shamar Graves will return in a starting role. Due to some injury-related attrition here, Rutgers looks very, very thin behind him. True freshman Paul Carrezola seems to be a sure bet to play early, and it wouldn't surprise me to see Jack Corcoran get a few more looks as an H-Back. Could we see Corcoran and Morales on the field at the same time?

The starting five on the OL should be mostly set. Maybe Barbieri pushes for playing time at one of the guard spots. The intrigue there, and on the DL, is regarding who among the underclassmen steps up and emerges as a viable option. Rutgers has a lot of young linemen; you can never say for sure when the light will go on or not.

I'd echo that point for the defensive line too, with the added questions of where a returning Justin Francis and Gary Watts fit in. Rutgers took a lot of linemen on both sides of the ball in its 2007 recruiting class. Presumably, they all have some natural ability, but we're not going to get a great idea of where they stand until spring practice starts. Sheer numbers will probably dictate a few transfers there at some point.

One thing I thought was interesting was that both Luicci and Sargeant see Lowery taking over at weakside linebacker, while envisioning a contest between Munoz and Abreu on the strong side. At this point, most Rutgers fans have to be rooting for Abreu, and redshirt freshman Marcus Witherspoon, to stick at linebacker instead of being moved to defensive end. There are a couple of other underclassmen who could be in the mix here.

David Rowe saw a lot of minutes in nickel packages as a true freshman, so it wouldn't be a big surprise if he took over for Jason McCourty at corner. After the bit about Lowery being favored to start at WLB, the other thing that really stood out to me was that Luicci and Sargeant both see Brandon Jones in the mix for playing time at corner. At safety, the obvious move is to start Lefeged and Kitchen. However, it remains to be seen how Lefeged will play in more of a coverage role at FS. There could be an opening for underclassmen there, or even an incoming freshman or a player moving from another position.