Sorry for the delay, as things have been a bit hectic. Say hi to BKObserver, who will be contributing here and there on football as his busy schedule permits.
Reports out of last Saturday's second team scrimmage were more mixed than the first one, which skewed heavily towards offense. Rutgers is still recovering from a few nagging injuries on that side of the ball, especially at defensive end, but by the numbers, that group did a better job of keeping the offense in check this time around. Except when it came to stopping Mohamed Sanu, who's now clearly at the head of the pack owing to finally healing from last year's overuse. Freshmen are inconsistent, and it's always difficult to account for context when evaluating players, or teams (a.k.a., get ready for another sea of negativity in a few days considering that Dr. Saturday is wildly heaping generous praise on offensively challenged UConn.)
Those injuries at DE seem like the biggest question mark entering the season, with linebackers Marvin Booker and Ka'Lial Glaud moving over to help sure up the depth. Jamil Merrell, expected to be a breakout camp contributor if he could stay healthy, hasn't made a peep on account of a foot injury. Last year's standout linebacker, Manny Abreu, missed significant time recovering from a concussion. Sophomores Mike Larrow and Marcus Thompson bring enormous promise for the future, but both sat out on Saturday. Rutgers fans have to be excited by the prospect of the coaching staff elevating the ferocious Thompson into the mix for playing time. With him, it's always a question of being able to stay focused enough to utilize his raw talent and aggression. If the benefits are starting to outweigh the drawbacks, that's a very good thing for this year's Scarlet Knight squad, and quite the frightening prospect for opposing quarterbacks.
Jamil Merrell keeps running into bad luck, but his twin brother Jamal is one of the pleasant surprises of camp, paired with true freshman Kevin Snyder. That duo impressed enough that Coach Schiano felt comfortable moving probable starter Ka'Lial Glaud and top reserve Marvin Booker to defensive end.
Along with Marcus Thompson seeing first-team reps at DE, the other major positional chart move of the past few days was in Tejay Johnson sliding over from receiver to cornerback. Yeah, it's not going to be easy for a young receiver to crack the depth chart here; especially considering that RU has three very good ones committed for this year's recruiting class, along with another tweener who could end up all over the field. Corner isn't much better though. Logan Ryan/Brandon Jones/Mason Robinson/Marcus Cooper in some combination are the top four. Johnathan Aiken is battling for special teams duties as a true freshman, and Gareef Glashen keeps showing flashes in between trips to the trainer's room. There's not much opportunity right now for (last year's promising freshman back) Jordan Thomas to break through. Johnson has a lot of potential, but at WR or CB he's almost a certain redshirt given the depth chart.
Per an excellent Keith Sargeant writeup, the RB depth chart is muddled in that there appear to be several different options. Jawan Jamison is finally healthy, and Jeremy Deering is starting to work his way back. Junior De'Antwan Williams and true freshman Savon Huggins appear to be the frontrunners to do their best impressions of Dion Lewis and Ray Graham in Frank Cignetti's pro-style offense. Even freshman walk-on Paul James has drawn praise. Sayvonnnnn is the best story, but this at least appears to still be a genuine competition at this point.