He came in with such a fanfare and was immediately labeled as a "savior of the program." Savon Huggins was never able to fully realize his potential as a four-star recruit, and his career as a Rutgers running back comes to an end today as he announced he will be transferring to Northern Iowa.
<blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"></div></div> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://instagram.com/p/xpJIHMP13t/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">My new home for the next year...I'm am a Panther for the University of Northern Iowa now it's time to start the next chapter of my life #comebackseason #2015</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A photo posted by Savon Huggins (@twoochoo) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2015-01-09T18:13:57+00:00">Jan 9, 2015 at 10:13am PST</time></p></div></blockquote>
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Huggins' decision was well-publicized when he famously donned a North Carolina cap on his announcement day, only to reveal his true destination by taking it off and revealing a Rutgers cap underneath:
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Upon his arrival, Huggins was given "savior of the program" status by many who followed Rutgers football. One writer even pondered whether we might be talking about a Heisman campaign for Savon within a couple of seasons.
He teased Scarlet Knight fans in his first game as a true freshman, as then-coach Greg Schiano gave the home crowd a preview of his new prized running back by letting him loose against an overmatched North Carolina Central team. Huggins gained 32 yards on 10 carries and scored two touchdowns, making fans believe he would make the end zone a familiar place for himself while on the banks.
In his sophomore season, he settled into a backup role behind Jawan Jamison, never quite flashing that greatness that we expected him to have coming right out of St. Peter's Prep. He had one shining moment in the 2012 season, when Jamison was injured for the Cincinnati game. The game against the Bearcats was a crucial tilt with Rutgers in the hunt for the Big East's BCS bid. With the starting running back out, Huggins finally had his chance to deliver on his promising four-star recruitment. He answered emphatically, pacing a Scarlet Knight offense that relied heavily on the run game. Savon was consistent all game, gashing the Bearcats for steady four and five yard gains. He finished the game with 179 yards on a staggering 41 carries.
After the 2012 season, Jamison entered surprisingly left RU for the NFL Draft, leaving Huggins as the lone running back with extensive experience. 2013 would be his time to shine. He got the start in the season opener against Fresno State, but continued to struggle with his vision running the ball. Eventually, Huggins would lose the starting job to a little known former walk-on named Paul James.
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The Savon Huggins era may end with a whimper in Piscataway, but we should all look fondly back on his time at Rutgers. He acted like a loyal son through and through, and never wanted anything more than for his Scarlet Knights to succeed on the field. He could have gone anywhere in the nation to play, but he chose to "start something new" and stay home in New Jersey. Best of luck Savon, and keep chopping.