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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Proving it in Piscataway (No. 10 — Rutgers' Taj Alexander)

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

Less than two weeks remain until the start of Rutgers training camp. This top-25 countdown will run infrequently, documenting who's got the most to prove in 2014.

No. 10 — RT Taj Alexander (6-foot-4, 290 pounds)

Why Alexander's on the list: The senior has appeared in games spanning three seasons, including 14 starts, but has labored through injuries.

Alexander (lower body) sat out spurts of spring practice, a year after a patchwork 2012 season. Should concerns persist, a depth-challenged offensive line will be tested.

Will Bryan Leoni, a former walk-on backup, be called upon?

Still, the one-time defensive lineman possesses the athleticism Rutgers' staff hopes carries it through a physically demanding first Big Ten season. 

During training camp, keep an eye on: how offensive line coach Mitch Browning distributes reps.

Leoni saw plenty of time with the first-team offense in the spring. With little experience, including Leoni, behind Alexander, bank on Rutgers keeping close tabs on its starters.

2014 outlook: Long arms and a solid base are positives for Alexander, who started 10 games a year ago.

He and left tackle Keith Lumpkin should form one of the Big Ten's more mobile tandems.

More from the countdown: No. 9 — Kenneth Kirksey

No. 11 — Julian Pinnix-Odrick

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