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January 20, 2014

Five new Scarlet Knights join the program

Today, Rutgers officially announced five enrollees as part of the incoming freshman class of 2014. All five players will be eligible to participate in spring practice with the first session is set for March 25th.

Three players from the state of Florida comprise the newest Scarlet Knights highlighted by Weeki Wachee three-star offensive lineman Marcus Applefield. Applefield is one of the top prospects in RU's current class and hauled in offers from upwards of twenty schools.

Enrolling early will also give Applefield a chance to compete for playing time as a true freshman. With depth at the offensive tackle position a question mark, he could forge ahead to a place on the two-deep as early as this summer.

Rutgers has enjoyed recent success with its early enrollee offensive linemen in recent years. Multi-year starters Art Forst, Andre Civil and Betim Bujari were all early enrollees.

The second Florida early enrollee will also have the chance to compete for early playing time. First Coast High three-star cornerback Kamren Lott will join a position group that saw seven different cornerbacks start in 2013. The Jacksonville native tallied a total of five offers, four of which were from Big Ten schools.

The final Florida recruit will have a tougher time finding his way onto the two-deep as a true freshman simply because there is more proven depth at the position. Linebacker Brandon Russell of the University School in Fort Lauderdale will find himself in competition at one of the outside linebacker positions. In the past, Rutgers has been known to use true freshman linebackers on its special teams, which is another possibility for Russell.

Russell transferred to the University School for his final year as he thrived playing for a more recognizable program and ended up a three-star prospect.

Tight end Logan Lister made the long haul from Katy, Tex., and will have a prime opportunity to play as a true freshman. Rutgers bid farewell to senior Paul Carrezola and is left with Tyler Kroft as the only tight end who has seen significant playing time. The need for a blocking tight end is immediate and Liston spent a lot of time last year playing tackle so he will be right in the hunt for playing time with Rutgers' group of youthful tight ends.

The final enrollee is the only New Jersey native to join the program. Defensive tackle Eric Wiafe was part of the 2013 freshman class coming out of Egg Harbor Township High School. However, academic issues forced him to spend the past fall at Milford Academy (Milford, N.Y.).

Wiafe achieved the necessary grades at Milford while also having a solid season on the football field. He will immediately become the no.6 defensive tackle and, with some of the other players in that pecking order having a history of injuries, Wiafe could find himself on the field this coming season.

All five of these players will begin classes when the spring semester opens up tomorrow.

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