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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Proving it in Piscataway (No. 23 — Bryan Leoni)

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. 23 — OL Bryan Leoni (6-foot-6, 280 pounds)

Why Leoni's on the list: As past seasons have shown, Rutgers will play between seven and eight offensive linemen each year with meaningful snaps.

Leoni, a former walk-on who overcame weight issues, is most likely to fill a void because of injury. The reserve lineman played on goal-line packages and special teams last season.

None of Rutgers' other backups have ever seen the field. In a do-or-die Big Ten season, Rutgers' lack of depth will be challenged.

During training camp, keep an eye on: how Leoni is used with Rutgers' first-team offense.

Incumbent starter Taj Alexander spent most of spring practice hobbled by injury. Leoni will likely get plenty of first-team snaps, at tackle or inside.

2014 outlook: It's difficult to envision a scenario in which Leoni, barring injury, doesn't see legitimate work in several games. 

Finding a consistent starting five once eluded Greg Schiano, and a physical first Big Ten season could force Kyle Flood to adjust.

More from the countdown: No. 22 — Janarion Grant
No. 24 — Nick Arcidiacono

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