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Position battles to look forward to in camp

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NCAA Football: Rutgers at Army Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback

The Players: Chris Laviano, Hayden Rettig, Zach Allen, Giovanni Rescigno

The Prediction: Realistically, this battle is between grad-transfer Zach Allen and 2015 starter Chris Laviano. Allen is behind given that he did not practice with the team during the Spring session. Laviano, on the other hand, has been a mainstay in the locker room and has the support of all of his teammates. Say what you want about him, but just about every player on Rutgers is backing Chris Laviano. He also apparently had a strong summer, so it will take a lot for Allen to win the job. The Pick: Chris Laviano

Kicker

The Players: David Bonagura, Jared Smolar

The Prediction: Bonagura has the experience and the advantage of Spring practice. Smolar probably has a stronger leg but I don’t think he has the mechanics and accuracy as a true freshman to win the field goal kicking job. The Pick: David Bonagura

Punter

The Players: Tim Gleeson, Michael Cintron

The Prediction: This competition is incredibly close and may go all the way through fall practice. Gleeson has tons of experience but has also missed last year due to injury. It is unknown what he brings to the table since he has not punted in a while. Cintron, on the other hand, was the primary backup last year and flashed a huge leg. His first career punt went for 57 yards and his 3 punts on the year averaged 51 yards. With that being said, I think experience wins this one. The Pick: Tim Gleeson

Kickoff Specialist

The Players: Jared Smolar, Michael Cintron, David Bonagura, Tim Gleeson

The Prediction: I think this is where Smolar gets to shine. He has a massive leg but I don’t think it is accurate enough for him to kick field goals. However, if he can consistently keep the ball in bounds, I think it is his job to lose. As a true freshman, he might have the strongest leg on the team, which is why I think this is where he fits best. The Pick: Jared Smolar

Free Safety

The Players: Saquan Hampton, Kiy Hester

The Prediction: This a good battle to have, and is the position battle with the two best players. Hester took over the starting job at SS last year, before being move to FS under Chris Ash. Hampton got some reserve time last year and had an interception against Nebraska. At the conclusion of the 2015 season, it was almost a given that Hester and Anthony Cioffi would be the starting safeties. However, Hampton, a redshirt sophomore, had an incredibly strong Spring and is now on even footing with Hester. Both of them will see plenty of playing time but only one can be the starter. The Pick: Saquan Hampton

Other “battles” to look forward too

  • Will Ross Douglas play in the slot or fight for a position on the outside?
  • Which running back will get more reps?
  • Who will play wide receiver opposite Andre Patton? Will there be a rotation?
  • What will the second string defensive line look like?
  • Which true freshman will earn playing time?