Rutgers Football Training Camp Notebook: August 24th
Thursday marked the last open practice for the Rutgers football team as it prepares for the season opener on September 1st against No. 8 Washington.
The focus of Thursday's practice was special teams, an area in which the Scarlet Knights struggled a lot in 2016.
Key spots are still up for grabs with the starting kicking and long snapping jobs both in question.
At kicker, senior David Bonagura is trying to hold off graduate-transfer Andrew Harte and true freshman Justin Davidovicz. Bonagura went with the first-team on extra points on Thursday, while Harte went with the backups. Special teams coach Vince Okruch said that none of them have proven they can consistently make kicks in high-pressure situations.
Junior punter Michael Cintron battled with graduate-transfer Ryan Anderson for the starting job for more than three weeks but after practice, Okruch said Anderson will "definitely" be the punter. Okruch noted that the former Division III All-American can kick it 7-10 yards further than Cintron and will be the starter, but also lauding Cintron for having a strong camp.
Despite three years as the starter, senior long snapper Alan Lucy is not guaranteed that spot this season. True freshman Billy Taylor has emerged at the position and and is getting lots of reps.
One position that has figured itself out is kickoff specialist, as true freshman Justin Davidovicz has consistently been the starter there all throughout camps and should continue to be the guy at that spot for 2017.
Thursday also gave graduate transfer Kyle Bolin exclusive reps with the first-team after being named the starter on Monday. He was the best quarterback on the field by far, throwing with a tight spiral and authority over the middle.
The trio of true freshmen wide receivers continues to impress, as Hunter Hayek, Everett Wormley and Bo Melton all had strong day. Hayek caught everything thrown his was and continues to push for playing time this season. Wormley made a great diving catch over the middle and has had reliable hands all summer.
On defense, redshirt freshman Elorm Lumor has gotten more reps at defensive end and looks to be one of the best pass rushers on the team. Sophomore safety KJ Gray and junior cornerback Kobe Marfo have both been getting a ton of reps and have established themselves as key rotational players.