Spring spotlight: Rutgers

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
2:00
PM ET
Time to see which position is in the spotlight this spring for Rutgers.

Position: Linebacker.

Why: You all thought I would say quarterback or running back. Made you look! Joking aside, it is true all eyes will be on those two positions this pring. But the one that I believe is in the spotlight is at linebacker, where the Scarlet Knights have to replace two of the most productive -- and best -- players on the defense in two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year Khaseem Greene and Steve Beauharnais. We all know just how good both have been over the past several seasons. In 2012, Greene led the team with 136 tackles; Beauharnais tied for third with 83. They were not only excellent tacklers; they were leaders and veterans with big-time starting experience. Beauharnais entered the starting lineup as a true freshman for the final three games of the year and never left. Greene made an instant impact on the outside when he moved from safety. Counting his year as a starter at safety, Greene started for three full seasons. It's not going to be easy to replicate that experience headed into 2013, but that is the task beginning this spring. The good news is Rutgers returns Jamal Merrell at one of the outside linebacker spots. Last season was his finest yet, as he had 83 tackles, including 8.5 for loss. But the players in the mix to replace Beauharnais and Greene are going to have to prove themselves. You have Steve Longa on the weakside as the top contender to replace Greene; and Kevin Snyder expected to take over in the middle. Snyder does have playing experience as a backup the past two seasons, but will obviously have much more on his hands this year. One player to keep an eye on is Quanzell Lambert, who redshirted this past season. Early talk out of Piscataway is that he has a chance to be good. Early enrollee Lester Liston will be in the mix this spring as well.

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