One interesting note on the travel roster for Rutgers this past weekend at Washington was the amount of true freshman that dressed for the game. Out of the 70 players that Rutgers is allowed to have active for games due to Big Ten rules, nine were true freshman. Out of those nine players, five of them saw their first college football action. Let’s review.
RB Trey Sneed
Sneed impressed throughout training camp and there is hope he may break into the rotation at running back this season. While Justin Goodwin and Josh Hicks received the majority of the carries, Sneed saw his first action in the fourth quarter. While his first carry was for just one yard, he ran for 7 yards on his second carry. With Robert Martin nursing a hamstring issue and not playing against Washington, it’s possible Sneed will see even more action against Howard, especially if the former starter continues to miss time.
WR Dacoven Bailey
The speedy, unheralded recruit from Texas was on the two deep depth chart and was expected to play. Bailey has the skill set to be used similarly as Rutgers star Janarion Grant is within the offense, and he received one carry and had one reception, totaling just 3 yards. The negative was that Bailey lost a fumble and it was recovered by Washington. Replays seemed to show Bailey was actually down, but it happened so late in the game and the outcome no longer in doubt that it was not challenged. Bailey did register three tackles on special teams, playing on both the kickoff and punt return coverage teams. He should see more action Saturday against Howard.
S Lawrence Stevens
Stevens seemingly came out of nowhere during training camp and landed on the two deep as the backup to Anthony Cioffi at strong safety. The walk-on from Don Bosco saw action with the kickoff coverage unit as well, but did not register any statistics in the game.
K Jared Smolar
Smolar was used exclusively on kickoffs, and unfortunately saw the first of his career returned for a 92 yard touchdown by Washington’s John Ross.
LB Tyreek Maddox-Williams
Maddox-Williams was not listed on the two deep at the start of the week, but he did see some action late in the game. The former 3-star recruit from Timber Creek didn’t start playing organized football until his sophomore season in high school. With zero returning starters from last season on the Rutgers roster, it will be interesting to see if Maddox-Williams receives more playing time as the season progresses.
QB Tylin Oden
Oden was one of five quarterbacks that dressed for the Washington game. The backup to starter Chris Laviano on Saturday was Gio Rescigno, which Ash pointed out in his postgame press conference. The other quarterbacks who suited up were Zach Allen and Hayden Rettig. It’s certainly is a positive in Oden’s development to have him suited up and soaking in the game experience on the sideline, as well experiencing all that goes into such a extensive road trip to the west coast.
CB Damon Hayes
Hayes impressed during training camp as well, and was listed as the backup to Blessaun Austin on the depth chart for the game. However, he did not play on Saturday.
OL Mike Lonsdorf
The freshman did not see any action in Saturday’s game, but he is obviously showing the staff something positive in practice to have made the travel roster.
LS Matthew Sportelli
The backup to starter Alan Lucy did not see any action and was there in case an injury occurred.