The first session of summer school at Rutgers kicks off today and with it has come a report that the football team has added a graduate transfer kicker to the roster.
Rutgers has a new grad transfer kicker with the 1st summer session underway in Andrew Harte, formerly of Minnesota. https://t.co/L3HCbE4Mig— Garrett Stepien (@GarrettStepien) May 30, 2017
Aside from Stepien’s tweet, who has previously written for On The Banks, The Daily Targum, and Scout, Harte added “Rutgers Football” to his twitter bio here. There has not been an official announcement from the program regarding his arrival, which is not unexpected with the summer just underway.
Harte was an all-state kicker and punter out of Illinois, where he played on four consecutive state 5A championship teams at Montini Catholic high school. He went to the University of Minnesota, where he initially redshirted during the 2013 season. Harte was never able to win the starting kicking job at Minnesota and saw limited action in 2014 & 2015, while not registering any stats or attempts last season, according to his school bio. It does appear that Harte did attempt several onside kicks at Minnesota, something that could make him useful in certain situations next season.
The Golden Gophers did have one of the best kickers in the country last season in Emmit Carpenter, who made 22 of 24 field goal attempts, including 10 of 10 from 40+ yards or longer.
While Harte didn’t acquire much game experience at Minnesota, it makes sense for Rutgers to add depth to the kicking unit for next season. Jared Smolar recently announced he was transferring from the program. The incumbent starter is David Bonagura, who made 10 of 14 field goal attempts and 20 of 22 extra point tries during the 2016 season. However, he was sidelined due to injury this past spring, which gave Gavin Haggerty an opportunity to shine. He capped off the spring by making all three field goal attempts in the Scarlet-White game. With incoming freshman Justin Davidovicz arriving with the incoming freshman class, Rutgers now has four kickers in the mix for next season. Ash has prioritized adding depth to every position group since taking over the program in December 2015.
No word on Harte’s status, but he is probably set to be a walk-on, as head coach Chris Ash indicated that there were no open scholarships earlier this spring. Harte likely landed on the banks due to Rutgers offensive coordinator Jerry Kill, who was the head coach at Minnesota when his career began there. According to Stepien’s report, Harte is a grad transfer, which would mean the 2017 season will be his only one with the program.