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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Newcomer at corner, Rutgers' Delon Stephenson could be next up

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

Less than a week ago, Delon Stephenson was a backup safety whose prospects at seeing time at cornerback were slim at best. After losing two players in five days, he could be Rutgers' best answer at filling out a rotation.

The true freshman from Sayreville arrived in January after prepping in 2012 and played a largely special teams role through six games. He could be one of three corners on the field Oct. 26 against Houston who are 20 years old or younger.

"Before I came here, I always knew I had a chance to play knowing all the guys going to league," Stephenson said Wednesday inside the team's media center. "I just came here, worked hard, just gave it all and now I have a chance of probably playing this week."

Delon Stephenson, right, earned sparse time on defense Oct. 10 at No. 8 Louisville. (AP photo) 

He is receiving individual attention. Stephenson stood with defensive backs coach Darrell Wilson for about five minutes Wednesday going over assignment corrections, Stephenson said.

Rushing him up to speed is necessary. Stephenson, who juggled safety and corner during training camp, admits he has forgotten some corner technique. He says he needs to improve on fundamentals in man-to-man coverage.

T.J. Taylor is latest Rutgers project at linebacker from secondary

Head coach Kyle Flood said the staff will know more about Stephenson and redshirt freshman Jevon Tyree's play Sunday after evaluating film.

"I know both of those guys can sense the opportunity," Flood said, "and they’re trying to advantage of it.”

Graduation, transfer and injury have hampered Rutgers' circumstances at corner. Only three players remain that have lined up on the perimeter this season. Two were in high school a year ago.

It has cut out any mystery in the Scarlet Knights' secondary.

“I think it’s fairly obvious when you stretch and you see who is in front of you and who is behind you," Flood said. "But I think they want it."

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