Which 5 players are most crucial to Rutgers' success in 2015?
5. Keith Lumpkin
Lumpkin is the best player on the offensive line and likely a captain. He will not have it easy, as he will have to go against some of the best pass-rushers in the country such as Joey Bosa and Shilique Clahoun. Lumpkin is crucial to the Knights success as he could make the starting quarterback's job very hard if he struggles. However, he has the ability to be one off the best blockers in the conference and at the same time could help the first-time starting QB out immensely by giving them plenty of time in the pocket.
4. Janarion Grant
Grant sees more and more playing time each season. As a junior, he will not only be expected to be the return man but to also be a much improved receiver and start in the slot. Grant showed flashes of being a reliable slot receiver last year but still needs to improve his hands and route running. If Grant proves himself to be an every down threat as a true receiver, defenses will have their heads spinning trying to cover him and Leonte Carroo.
3. Blessaun Austin
Austin has yet to play a snap of D1 football but is already incredibly crucial to the Scarlet Knights' success. if Nadir Barnwell is ineligible, Austin will likely have to step into the role as the number one corner. He has shown flashes of being elite but has yet to play a real game. On the other hand, if Barnwell is eligible, Austin will most likely be thrown at an overwhelming amount of times. If he is not good, it will be another long season. If he is as good as advertised, the Rutgers secondary has the potential to be very, very good.
2. Leonte Carroo
Carroo is the only skill position starter with no question marks at all. That being said, there is a massive amount of pressure on Carroo to match last season's production. Hopefully, a player like John Tsimis or Andre Patton can step up and the number two receiver and take the load of Carroo. Even if that happens, though, Carroo will wind up being the safety blanket for the QB. There is no proven tight end on the roster and Carroo is easily the most reliable target on the field. A lot rides on Carroo this year but he should be able to handle the pressure just fine
Hayden Rettig or Chris Laviano will take the field on September 5th and have full control over a college offense for the first time in their young careers. Whoever chooses to step up: you're QB1 now and you can make or break this season. Quarterback play is the difference between a 4 win season and an 8 win season. It is strange having to refer to a Rutgers quarterback as QB1 and not Gary Nova but hopefully whoever it is proves to be worth it and will make sure no one ever forgets their name at Rutgers.
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