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Monday, July 28, 2014

Proving it in Piscataway — (No. 5 Rutgers' Johnathan Aiken)

(AP photo) 
By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

Less than a week 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. 5 — FS Johnathan Aiken (5-foot-11, 190 pounds)

Why Aiken's on the list: With 21 career appearances and only three starts in as many years, Aiken could eventually be the last line of Rutgers' defense.

The former corner isn't physically imposing, but experience — and issues at corner — have kept challenger Delon Stephenson at bay.

Aiken was used in three-safety looks and as a linebacker on passing downs a year ago. Does he have what it takes against a Big Ten moving more toward spread offenses?

During training camp, keep an eye on: when (or if) the coaching staff makes a position decision on Stephenson.

The second-year player flipped between corner and safety in the spring because of depth issues. A stocked freshman class has replenished the secondary.

2014 outlook: It's hard to gauge Aiken's play against a secondary that produced the worst passing stats in program history a season ago.

This is one camp battle that'll take until the season opener — or later — to materialize.

More from the countdown: No. 4 — Joe Roth

No. 6 — Andre Patton

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