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Sunday, July 21, 2013

TOP 20: Proving it in Piscataway (No. 8)

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: Tyler_Barto

Less than 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. 8 — sophomore kicker Kyle Federico (6-foot, 190 pounds)

Why Federico's on the list: Whomever wins the kicking competition could be pegged here, but Federico gets the nod because he's the incumbent.

Kyle Federico showed solid leg strength before
being shelved with a hip injury. (AP Photo)
Federico was 6-for-11 last season before suffering a season-ending hip injury Oct. 6 against Connecticut. Two of his misses were blocked.

Speculation remained that Federico would return at some point late in the season, but that never materialized. Rutgers' staff was content shelving its freshman prospect.

Part of it was caution. Then-redshirt freshman Nick Borgese, who hit 5 of 8 chances as a fill-in, was another reason.

In 2013, Federico must stabilize a position that has shown below-average productivity in recent memory. Four of his five misses in 2012 came between 30 and 49 yards.

Federico said during the spring he felt fully healed. Head coach Kyle Flood is planning on it, but Borgese remains a fail-safe.

During training camp, keep an eye on: Federico's trajectory.

This could've also gone to the interior of Rutgers' field goal protection, on the field for three blocked kicks a year ago. 

(Courtesy of
While one of Federico's blocks came because of a poor hold, it's an early sign of compromising kick height for length. It worked on a career-best 52-yard field goal Sept. 13 at South Florida.

A stable holder situation will help. Senior J.T. Tartacoff struggled in the role last season and later suffered a hand injury. Since-graduated Justin Doerner was a late substitute.

2013 season outlook: Federico sustains his early promise as a sophomore, converting upward of 70 percent of his field goal attempts.

He will not kick off as Rutgers' staff monitors his availability. All signs point to a healthy return, but the Scarlet Knights' kicking situation remains fluid as Borgese lingers.

More from the countdown: No. 7 
— Miles Shuler
No. 9 — Max Issaka

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