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Friday, July 18, 2014

Proving it in Piscataway (No. 17 — LJ Liston)

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

Less than a month remains 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. 17 — LB LJ Liston (6-foot-2, 230 pounds)

Why Liston's on the list: The then-true freshman played briefly with Rutgers' first-team defense last year, finishing with 16 tackles.

Rutgers' depth is woefully thin entering training camp. None of its other backup linebackers have ever played, meaning Liston will likely be the team's first off the bench.

Liston is more geared to play the middle, meaning an injury at outside linebacker would likely prompt Kevin Snyder to move from MIKE

During training camp, keep an eye on: how Liston is used on special teams.

The sophomore played immediately on several units a year ago (with some penalties sprinkled in) and could enter a larger role as a backup linebacker, a position often asked to play each way.

2014 outlook: It's clear Liston will play a lot in a league that places a premium on physicality. 

But it could be a bad sign if Rutgers has to tap deeper into its young linebacking corps.

More from the countdown: No. 16 — Kemoko Turay
No. 18 — Ruhann Peele

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