Yesterday, ESPN released its 2008 Big East preview. Mark Schlabach ranks Rutgers an even fourth:
4. Rutgers: With Ray Rice leaving for the NFL, the Scarlet Knights might look completely different in 2008. Quarterback Mike Teel leads what might be the Big East's best passing attack.
3. Who will fill Ray Rice's large shoes at Rutgers?
Rice, the school's all-time leading rusher, carried a bigger load than perhaps any other running back in the country. Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano says he might use as many as four or five running backs to replace Rice, but Mason Robinson, Kordell Young and Jourdan Brooks lead the competition.
He might need to double check his notes though:
3. Scott Vallone, DT, Rutgers: It's always difficult for freshman defensive tackles to make big impacts in their first seasons, but Vallone might be the exception. The Scarlet Knights return three returning starters on the line, but coach Greg Schiano might be counting on Vallone to play one of the tackle positions.
Vallone suffered a leg injury last year and is expected to redshirt.
ESPN also posted its blue ribbon preview, but they (with the exception of USF) require an Insider subscription.
The other major development of yesterday was that AD attempt to quell the growing media firestorm by leading reporters on a guided tour of stadium construction. Steve Politi's Ledger column strongly took Mulcahy's comments to task. ScarletKnights.com has video of the press conference.
Mid-summer is not just a time for anticipating the upcoming season on the banks. A number of former Scarlet Knights are gearing up for another year on the professional gridiron, chief among them one of the most-beloved figures in recent Rutgers football history, Eric Foster. USA Today took time to single out Foster recently:
Foster is a definitely possibility to earn a spot on the team at the end of training camp.
Their season preview also contained a few words of praise for one Raymell Rice.
The Ravens drafted Rice in the second round, and the rookie out of Rutgers seems to be a better fit in offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's system. He could be this year's Maurice Jones-Drew.
No word yet on Rice's contract, but it has to be close, given that they've recently agreed to terms with first-round pick and New Jersey's own Joe Flacco. Jeremy Zuttah reportedly will have a deal by next week.
Finally, a column in The Sporting News named potential RB starter Kordell Young as one of its key players returning from injury.
RB Kordell Young, Rutgers: Ray Rice's replacement was scheduled to get a few carries a game behind him in 2007. A knee injury restricted his relationship with Rice to conversations about how to be a great back.
"He had so much game experience he tried to pass on to me," Young said by phone. "Pass reads, how to read the safety rotations. All that is going to help."
Young must first win the starting job - August will feature a derby of up to five potential lead backs in Piscataway.
Let's see - Young, Robinson, Brooks, Martinek. I don't see how he arrives at five, especially if Rashad White doesn't make it to campus this fall.