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Thursday, July 18, 2013

TOP 20: Proving it in Piscataway (No. 10)

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: Tyler_Barto

Three weeks remain until the start of Rutgers training camp. This top-20 countdown will run infrequently, documenting who's got the most to prove in 2013.

No. 10 — fifth-year senior punter Nick Marsh (5-foot-11, 198 pounds)

Why Marsh's on the list: Rutgers has struggled on punts in two of the last three seasons, namely last season's Big East-worst 37.2 yards per punt.

Graduated punter Justin Doerner had to adjust from directional punting in Juco to Rutgers' pro-style, straight-line system. 

He netted only 33 yards per kick in 2012, a year after Doerner earned All-Big East Second Team recognition in 2011 after recording 12 punts of more than 50 yards.
Nick Marsh could handle both punting and kickoff duties
in 2013, head coach Kyle Flood said June 19. (AP Photo)

Head coach Kyle Flood tried to add Dean Crozier, a 24-year-old Australian, but the NCAA ruled him ineligible. Since punter Anthony DiPaula left the program in the offseason, Marsh is Flood's last option. 

Marsh, a Utah transfer, didn't punt in 2012. He finished with 20 tries in 2011 and took three the year before. Rutgers has to hope he can be at least a stopgap.

During training camp, keep an eye on: How Marsh fares on kickoffs.

Flood said June 19 he expects Marsh to figure into the team's kickoff competition, which could include sophomores Nick Borgese and Kyle Federico.

Marsh should be the favorite. 

He handled 60 kickoffs last season, recording 25 touchbacks. Federico finished with six touchbacks on 15 kicks a year ago after suffering a season-ending hip injury. Borgese has not yet kicked off.

Kyle Federico could ease into a more limited role
following a 2012 hip injury. (AP Photo)
Flood, with input from special teams coordinator Joe Rossi and assistant Sam Williams, will likely reduce Borgese and Federico's workload to field goals. Federico's role will expand, but he must first remain healthy.

2013 season outlook: Marsh will improve the position adequately in his only eligible season, while Rutgers continues to scour for an eventual replacement.

He could already be on the roster. Borgese will likely take more reps at punter, as he did late in 2012.

Rutgers has yet to land a special teams commitment for either 2013 or 2014.

More from the countdown: No. 9 — Max Issaka

No. 11 — Lorenzo Waters

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