Five players have joined the Rutgers football program early, and will be eligible for spring practice.

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The Scarlet Knights announced Thursday that defensive backs Delon Stephenson of Sayreville and Nadir Barnwell of Piscataway are attending classes and can practice in March for coach Kyle Flood. Quarterback Chris Laviano of Glen Head, N.Y., linebacker Lester Liston of Grand Blanc, Mich., and running back Dontea Ayres of Salisbury, Md. also are enrolled as members of the 2013 recruiting class.

Ayres had a knee injury and did not play as a senior at Middletown (Del.) High. He began his high school career at Wicomico High in Salisbury, Md., and had 3,370 yards rushing in three total prep seasons.

Barnwell was a four-year starter at Piscataway High, playing quarterback and cornerback while leading the Chiefs to a 30-5 record over the last three years.


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