With the recent quarterback transfers of Hayden Rettig, Chris Laviano, and Mike Dare, we take a shot at making our way too early prediction for the starting quarterback position next year. Gio Rescigno registered his first start against the Minnesota Golden Gophers after a promising second half start against Illinois where Gio went 10-18 for 120 yards (6.66 YPA), including one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 37 yards on 12 attempts (3.08 YPC), and at that point Rutgers fans saw the potential of what the new power spread offense could look like with a true dual threat quarterback. Here is a look at Gio’s first touchdown pass:
Following the Illinois loss, Gio and the Scarlet Knights had arguably their best in conference offensive performance against Minnesota and almost pulled off the come from behind upset, however Minnesota pulled together a game winning drive capped off with a field goal with very little time remaining to stifle the Knight’s attempt to obtain their first conference win. Gio went 22-38 for 220 yards (5.78 YPA) including 3 touchdowns and two interceptions. Additionally, he rushed for 26 yards on 11 attempts (2.36 YPC). Here is a look at one of Gio’s touchdowns hauled in by WR Andre Patton:
Unfortunately during the Minnesota game it appeared Gio hurt his hamstring which hurt his scrambling ability for the remainder of the season.
If the season were to start today, Gio Rescigno would get the nod due to his mobility, and he is the best passer on the team currently. Tylin Oden saw action in 6 games this past season rushing for 144 yards on on 37 attempts (3.89 YPC), but only converted 1 pass on 8 attempts for 2 yards. While Oden clearly has shown his ability to scramble, he will need to develop his passing game in the off season to become a true dual threat option come next year. Below is the 2016 statistical breakdown of the three quarterbacks currently on the roster; Giovanni Rescigno, Tylin Oden, and Zach Allen:
Last and certainly not least is current Rutgers QB commit out of St. Peter’s Prep Johnathan Lewis. A true dual threat QB standing 6-3 and weighing in at 210 pounds he is one of the leaders of the 2017 class currently committed to Rutgers. Lewis will have a legitimate chance to be named the starter when he steps on the banks, and for those who have had the chance to see him play in person many will agree. His most recent dominant performance came this past Saturday at MetLife Stadium in the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 football championship. Although St. Peter’s Prep lost 33-28 to Paramus Catholic, Lewis rushed for 156 yards on 23 carries (6.78 YPC) and four touchdowns. He also converted 21 passes on 37 attempts for for 145 yards. His first scoring touchdown came within the first three minutes of the game on a 61 touchdown run. He absolutely dominated the first half with his legs.
Here's the Lewis TD run that gives Prep 6-0 lead pic.twitter.com/lnNOsBLe4h— Varsity Aces (@VarsityAces) December 3, 2016
Lewis 2nd TD run of night. Gives Prep 12-7 lead. SPP goes for 2. Gets it. It's 14-7 SPP now mid 2nd Q pic.twitter.com/2C6ibnERgG— Varsity Aces (@VarsityAces) December 3, 2016
This is the Johnathan Lewis show. #Rutgers QB commit dominated the first quarter on the ground— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) December 3, 2016
St. Peter’s Prep trailed Paramus Catholic by 19 points late in the game until Lewis provided a spark St. Peter’s needed scoring two touchdowns in only 17 seconds to cut the deficit to only 5 with just under three minutes left to play. Watch this particular throw from Lewis.
Prediction: It is not often a true freshman gets the nod as the starting QB, however Johnathan Lewis has the skill set and the intangibles that Offensive Coordinator Drew Mehringer needs to implement the power spread offense. Additionally, there will likely be other true freshman starting at the skill positions that Lewis has played against and has known for many years, making it easier for him to take command of the offense. My way too early prediction is Johnathan Lewis will be named the starting QB come the start of the season.
Watch his junior season highlights for yourself, but from the looks of it, the quarterback battle will be one to watch in 2017!
Johnathan Lewis 2015 Highlight Tape: