In his first few weeks, Chris Ash has already made some power mover, including hiring 28-year-old offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer. This had me thinking about what type of offense Rutgers would run and what the team would look like.
I took the liberty of putting together a 2-deep depth chart using the knowledge I have and speculation on who will sign with Rutgers on National Signing Day.
The first thing I want to point out is QB. That position is completely open for whoever wants to take it and I put Anthony Russo there just cause. The truth is that Russo, Laviano, Rettig, Mike Dare, and my personal favorite Gio Rescigno will all have a shot to win the job during camp. Whoever the starter is should be relatively young once again. Just don't put too much stock into that part of the depth chart.
Running back seems to be a pretty clear picture again. Josh Hicks and Robert Martin will split carries, though I think Martin may get more touches, as he was the better back this year. Both will be juniors.
Wide receiver is actually more wide-open than most think. Both Andre Patton and Carlton Agudosi failed to have breakout years. John Tsimis should be healthy and make an impact as well. Of course there is Janarion Grant, who should have a great season in the spread. Keep in mind, though, every receiver I just mentioned will be a senior next year. Crazy.
The tight ends will all be the same, just more experienced and hopefully more effective in the passing game.
There will be a little shuffling on the o-line with the departure of Keith Lumpkin. Chris Muller has played tackle before and might be the best option at LT. Marcus Applefield will slide in to replace Muller at RG. Applefield was very impressive in his limited action. Believe it or not, the o-line will be one of the stronger units on the team.
The great part about this defense is that the entire starting secondary returns and our new coach is a secondary guru! Kiy Hester will have the starting SS job locked up and Blessuan Austin and Isaiah Wharton should have strong seasons in 2016.
Linebacker is where it gets interesting. Isaiah Johnson SHOULD slide up and replace Kaiwan Lewis, though he will be pushed by true freshman Jon Pollock. Hopefully Steve Longa returns and WILL isn't a position of worry. I feel pretty confident he returns. SAM is the biggest question mark on the whole roster. Quentin Gause was the man there and will be very hard to replace. I think Najee Clayton moves from safety to OLB for depth purposes. T.J. Taylor returns from a torn ACL and if he stays healthy, I think he could take that job.
No surprises on the D-Line, where defensive tackle will be the strongest position on the team. Rutgers is 2-deep at both nose tackle and 3-technique. At NT, Kevin Wilkins should get the majority of the reps over Sebastian Joseph, though both are very good players and will play a lot. They both tip the scales at 295, which is the type of size Rutgers needs to compete.
At 3-technique, there is the most loyal son of Rutgers, Darius Hamilton, entering his 5th year. He is bulked up to apparently 280 lbs and is as good as they come both on and off the field. Julian Pinnix-Odrick will back him up, which gives Rutgers two of the best backup DTs you'll find in the country.
At defensive end, Quanzell Lambert and Kemoko Turay should be the two starters. Hopefully Turay is healthy by camp and Jim Panagos can continue to work his magic on the Kemoko Dragon. Lambert is entrenched in his starting role and will be backed up by rising star Jimmy Hogan. Hogan showed flashed of excellence this year and can only continue to get better. Backing up Turay as a pass-rushing specialist should be RS-Fr Marques Ford. Hopefully Ford adds bulk to his 220 lb frame and becomes a force.
This D-Line can be very, very good.
Alex Barbir will come in as a true freshman at kicker and run sh*t. From what I hear, the kid is an absolute freak and that is exactly what Rutgers needs in the kicking game. Hopefully Barbir brings fans back to the glory days of Jeremy Ito.
I know nothing about the depth at punter, but Michael Cintron is listed as the backup and Roth and Gleeson will graduate. The same reason is why Verbitski is the holder. Hopefully Alan Lucy, the scholarship long snapper can get it together after a rough two years Nothing really needs to be said about kick returning besides #GRILLS