My 2009 prediction that Tom Savage was even money to redshirt looks terrible in retrospect, even though in fairness D.C. Jefferson was still playing quarterback at the time. It was probably wishful thinking in that the team wouldn't win the conference with a freshman quarterback. I'll give it another go through at predicting which incoming freshmen will see the field or sit out. Predictions are given in terms of probability of redshirt (NOT chances of playing), with 0% being absolutely certain to play, and 100% being a certain redshirt.
These guesses are based on an estimated of each player's ability to contribute right away and perceived roster needs. They should not at all be considered evaluations of talent or long-term potential unless otherwise noted. Extremely talented newcomers can force their way onto the field (Rice, Sanu), but on the other hand Brian Leonard was a redshirt. There is no hard and fast rule. Sometimes it can just be a function of who is and isn't healthy at the right time.
The Rutgers staff has always liked QB Chas Dodd more than the various recruiting services, and Steve Shimko can't even throw right now with his shoulder injury. Considering how thin the depth chart is behind Tom Savage, this seems rather settled. Dodd has only about a 10% chance of redshirting. He could very well overtake even a healthy Shimko. The staff won't have an qualms about burning Chas's redshirt even in garbage time.
RB Casey Turner has about a 20% chance of redshirting. He's generated considerable recruiting buzz, and his size and power will be assets for a revamped running attack. Looking back, many Rutgers backs often play right away even if just in garbage time minutes.The staff shouldn't have any reservations about playing RB Jawan Jamison either, although he'll have trouble overtaking Turner and the veteran backs. 70% or so should be right for him.
WR Brandon Coleman has his share of physical gifts, but the word on Coleman last year was that he was still a little raw and needs to grow into his frame. Rutgers has decent size this year, but maybe he's big enough to play in special red zone packages and special teams. Let's call it 50%.
WR Jeremy Deering was specifically mentioned by Coach Schiano on signing day as a candidate to see early time as a wildcat quarterback, and Jeremy even ran it in high school. He hasn't looked too shabby in regular duty either. Give him a 10% chance of redshirting, in case he stumbles early or another candidate emerges. Deering will play, and it's hard to see more than one other freshman joining him. The team could really use his speed now with Tim Wright out for the year.
I'm actually highest on Jordan Thomas of the five incoming receivers. He's crazy athletic, and had a very productive senior season high school. He's a converted running back though, and will have to learn the position. Could end up being the best of this group, but it's best to give Thomas a redshirt unless he's needed as a returner or something. 70%. Any one of these guys could always move at some point to defense too.
J.T. Tartacoff has been the least hyped of the five, but that's not entirely fair. He played at a smaller school, and committed early. I almost think of him as this year's answer to Paul Carrezola (presuming Paul had stayed healthy last year). Rutgers certainly has slot receivers who can run blazing forty times, but how many know how to run routes or find the first down marker? 50%, either he or Coleman will play even though they're not at all similar. Tempted to make him even less likelier based on some of the positive early camp reports.
Jawaun Wynn has a good combination of size and athleticism, which caused his breakout performance on the camp circuit last summer. He didn't play much as an underclassman at Piscataway though. He's the most likely of the five to redshirt at 80%, being more of a long-term project. Again, more than happy with all five of these guys, who could prove to be the team's best WR class ever.
Betim Bujari is the most likely of the incoming offensive linemen to play right away. He could be on the Zuttah plan of seeing sub minutes this year, before embarking on three years as a starter. Bujari was the team's best OL recruit last spring by a significant margin, and would have been a reasonably big name had he not committed so early and enrolled for spring practice. 15%, which is only that high considering the ever-present risk of injury. The only other imaginable obstacle is that Antwan Lowery has a ton of potential at guard too. They'll both make the two-deep.
Chris Fonti, Frank Quartucci, and Jorge Vicioso are almost near-certiain redshirts at 95%. Quartucci enrolled early, but it's still hard to envision him playing outside of crippling injuries.
Taj Alexander, being listed on the roster at 295 lbs, is a 100% certain redshirt. When has Rutgers ever played a defensive lineman that big in recent memory? He needs a year with Jay Butler to reshape his body ala Lowery and Holmes last year.
Sam Bergen, Dave Milewski, and Fred Overstreet at linebacker are likely redshirts for varying reasons, although I'll concede knowing almost nothing about Overstreet, who materialized out of the ether right before signing day. Milewski has the frame to add weight, and knowing that Mera didn't qualify, would it be that much of a surprise to see him grow into an end like countless other Rutgers LBs over the past decade? Bergen is coming off a second major knee injury and should probably take it easy for the time being. They're 70% or so, but Marcus Thompson is more advanced physically, which was evident by his camp offer last year. My guess is that Thompson's closer to 30%.
At least one of the three defensive backs Gareef Glashen, Rashad Knight, Lorenzo Waters should play. Along with running back, this is really the position where Coach Schiano hasn't had as many qualms about throwing freshmen into the fire from day one. It could either be on special teams, or in a designated blitz package role like how David Rowe and Joe Lefeged initially broke in. 66% for the lot of them.