Rutgers DT comes up big in spring
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Charlie Noonan has used this spring to elevate his status in the Rutgers football program. A junior defensive tackle from St. Joseph's Prep, Noonan was honored at halftime of yesterday's spring game when he received the Douglas A. Smith Award as Rutgers' most improved defensive player.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Charlie Noonan has used this spring to elevate his status in the Rutgers football program.
A junior defensive tackle from St. Joseph's Prep, Noonan was honored at halftime of yesterday's spring game when he received the Douglas A. Smith Award as Rutgers' most improved defensive player.
"I feel I put forth a lot of effort this spring in the film room and on the field, and this is a good way to cap it off," said Noonan, who had five tackles as the Scarlet team defeated the White, 31-3, in front of 15,899 at Rutgers Stadium. (Noonan played for both sides.)
The 6-foot-2, 265-pound Noonan, a former Inquirer first-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection, is in line for serious playing time after recording nine tackles and two quarterback hurries for the 8-5 Scarlet Knights last season.
"He has busted his butt and fought through adversity," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said.
The adversity? Twice Noonan suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament - after his senior year in the Big 33 game and during his redshirt freshman season against Pittsburgh on Nov. 17, 2007.
Noonan wasn't the only local player honored at halftime. Jim Dumont, a junior linebacker from Council Rock North, won the Frank R. Burns Award, presented to the player who displays extraordinary mental and physical toughness during spring practice.
Dumont broke his hand in spring practice and never missed a snap.
"Jimmy Dumont is one of the toughest guys I have been around," Schiano said.
Dumont seemed humbled by the award.
"You look around and there are a lot of tough guys on this team, so to win this award is special," Dumont said.
The big question is who will win the quarterback spot vacated by Mike Teel, who graduated.
Fifth-year senior Domenic Natale, who completed 11 of 19 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown yesterday, appears to be the early front-runner in what could be a wide-open race.
"We know there will be five quarterbacks, and this will play itself out," Schiano said.
Any of the candidates will have to play well to hold off incoming freshman Tom Savage, the highly touted 6-foot-5, 225-pound product of Cardinal O'Hara.
Savage, while not being able to practice in the spring because he is still in high school, was a regular attendee at practices, learning the offense.
For a freshman trying to win the starting job, "the way you have a chance is to do what he did," Schiano said of Savage's film study. "He stayed up there many nights until 8:30 or 9, working on tape after practice, and no doubt he is a committed player and it will be good to get him."