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OTB Staff Round Table: Our Hopes For Rutgers Athletics in 2017

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Indiana v Rutgers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Happy New Year everyone. We highlighted our favorite moments of 2016 here and today we cover our hopes for Rutgers athletics in 2017.

Bob Cancro: Oh, good, I’m first. So many things to consider. I think first is stability. Go back three years and think of the chaos that has transpired at Rutgers. Now think of the last year under Pat Hobbs: stability. I hope the RWJBarnabas Health Performance Center breaks ground on time and becomes the envy of every program - college or pro - in the country. I hope Rutgers gets its first Big Ten team title - it’s certainly possible with Men’s Lacrosse or Women’s Soccer.

“Have a little faith, there’s magic in the night.” Happy New Year!

Dave White: Am I predictable or am I predictable? I really want Rutgers basketball to keep going on this upward trend. This is the sport in this athletic department that has had the least amount of success over the past 25 years, and seeing the change on the court has been exhilarating. So, let’s keep it going Coach Pikiell. Let’s upset a Top 25 team at the RAC. Let’s land some more great recruits for next season, and then let’s start off next season with the perfect amount of optimism. Rutgers basketball is on the rise and it needs to continue in 2017.

Mike Voza: My hope for 2017 is very simple but not easy. It will be realized very early in the year as National Signing Day is the first day of February. My hope is that the Football Recruiting Class finish in the top 25 overall in the country. Coach Ash and his staff have done a very good job securing a number of early commitments from three and four star recruits. According to 24/7 Sports, Rutgers 2017 recruiting class ranks 32nd overall in the country. Rivals website has Rutgers at number 26. The Rutgers Football Staff needs to keep all the current commits and finish strong. One more big commitment from say, Johnathan Lovett, Elijah Barnwell or Liam Fornadel can push the Scarlet Knights up a number of spots.

David Anderson: My first instinct is what Bob said, but Dave’s point about a top 25 upset in men’s basketball would be awesome. The trickle down effects from success in Men’s Basketball and Football will be seen in fundraising and for the other sports. I personally pledged $100 for every football win toward R Big Build and got many others on board. If they won more games it would have parlayed itself nicely into the momentum generated early this hoops season. It really starts with football at the end of the day and hopefully this recruiting class, which Mike will be covering, stays together. The football team NEEDS to win 4 games this season (not easy) to show progress, anything less than that and I’m worried people will start abandoning ship.

Jim Hoffman: My greatest hope for 2017 is a football recruiting class that hangs together (so far, so good) followed by some continuity in program, which will lead to success. Coach Parker’s conditioning program will continue to bear fruit as the program enters its second year, and the addition of Coach Kill as OC will lead to positive change where it was desperately needed. While I’m not expecting more than 5 wins this season, I am hopeful for closer scores this year.

RutgersNation86: My hope for 2017 is a much improved football season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. I am eager/excited to see what changes coach Jerry Kill will make to the offense. Ironically, this past season we saw a glimpse of what this offense could look like with a mobil quarterback against Minnesota. Additionally, the 2017 schedule on paper is definitely more manageable. On the bright side at least we play the Huskies at home, am I right?

Cara Sanfilippo: I echo my fellow staff members in the hopes for the 2017 class holding together, and some last minute wins in recruiting. As a season ticket holder, I saw the loss of hopes in our fans, and we need something we can look forward to next season. Defending Rutgers, and convincing my longtime season ticket holder father to keep our seats, has become the norm for me. It was hard to find any positives in this dismal season. However, I am so excited about the way Ash and company have recruited thus far, and hope this pans out to some conference wins and more competitive play next season. There is nowhere to go but up, and I hope we see some momentum sooner rather than later.

Aaron Breitman: My hope is for recruiting in all sports to continue improving for every Rutgers team. The kids are our future and the more teams that can become competitive in the Big Ten, the more perception will change for the better. It’s imperative that wrestling, women’s soccer, and men’s lacrosse continue to build off the success they have had of late. Also, seeing men’s soccer, volleyball, baseball and women’s lacrosse step forward would be a major development for Rutgers athletics in 2017. Of course, sports like football and men’s basketball have the biggest reach and perhaps the farthest hill to climb. While the 2017 recruiting classes for both sports are important, I think what both programs are able to build and develop this year for the 2018 class is crucial to the long term success of both football coach Chris Ash and basketball coach Steve Pikiell. While I wish for better results for all of our current teams in 2017, continuing to lay the foundation through recruiting with all sports will have the greatest impact on the future of Rutgers athletics.

What do you hope for in 2017? Let us know in the comments section! Happy New Year from everyone at On The Banks.