Blogs > Rutgers Rundown

Devoted to the daily goings on with Rutgers football, both at High Point Solutions Stadium and behind the scenes.

Monday, July 1, 2013

TOP 20: Proving it in Piscataway (No. 18)

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: Tyler_Barto

A month remains 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. 18 — redshirt freshman LB Quanzell Lambert (6-foot-1, 230 pounds)

(Courtesy of
Why Lambert's on the list: Lambert arrived at Rutgers a year ago with high grades and national recruiting buzz. The Sicklerville native might have acted on it if not for a high ankle sprain he suffered during training camp, sidelining him for the 2012 season.

Lambert could be in the discussion for a vacant middle linebacker position during training camp, but for now classmate Steve Longa is slated to fill the void. Lambert worked as an edge rusher during spring practice, when head coach Kyle Flood said he was a fit because of his size.

It remains to be seen if defensive end is a holding pattern for Lambert or a look into a permanent change. Plenty of players have transitioned down a level in Rutgers' defense, but results have been modest at end.

At 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, Lambert could fill a need in an unproven end rotation. Rutgers continues to recruit linebackers, and Lambert will have to market himself.

During training camp, keep an eye on: Where competition develops. Junior Kevin Snyder has experience at all three linebacker positions, but with fifth-year senior Jamal Merrell at strongside, it leaves him options at two.

Where Rutgers' staff deems Snyder most important is key.

Lambert's frame lends him more to the middle, while Longa has practiced along the weakside and could be interchangeable. Intangibles have always been attached to Rutgers' MIKE, namely responsibility. 

Snyder would rather play WILL, a position driven by instinct, but he might force defensive coordinator Dave Cohen's hand if Cohen needs a leader in the middle. Rutgers flirted with Ka'Lial Glaud at MIKE in training camp in 2011 but was forced to return to Steve Beauharnais, more suited there because of higher acumen.

That'll directly affect Lambert and Longa, whose coaches likely already have an exit strategy in place.

2013 season outlook: Lambert will at least earn time when Rutgers opts for a four-linebacker looks in certain packages. 

He might inherit a Glaud-type role from 2011, when the fellow Sicklerville native earned snaps in both three- and two-point stances. Beauharnais played both extensively, too.

Lack of quality depth at end should at least be a starting point. 

Lambert will also be relied upon heavily on several special teams packages and should develop into a multi-year starter ... somewhere.

More from the countdown: No. 17 — Tyler Kroft
No. 19 — Delon Stephenson

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home