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2017 Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee: Ray Lucas

Former Quarterback still a face of the program

Lucas now a Hall of Famer

It’s fitting that in the year the Rutgers Football team brings in it’s most hyped dual-threat quarterback in 25 years (Johnathan Lewis), its last true dual-threat signal caller Ray Lucas will be inducted to its sports Hall of Fame. Lucas is the prototype for what the Chris Ash / Jerry Kill staff is looking for and interestingly went to high school at Harrison just 10 miles away from St. Peter’s Prep. This skillset includes being mobile in the pocket, being able to run in the open field as a bonus, good on play action, and a strong enough arm to get the ball down the field.

Career at Rutgers

Ray started games in four different seasons at quarterback from 1992-95 on the banks. The fans were split during a quarterback controversy as a true freshman when he battled with Miami (FL) transfer Bryan Fortay. One of the nation’s top recruits, Fortay was a true gunslinger who connected on many touchdowns along with many interceptions while Lucas added a dimension in the option running game. They shared the duties for two seasons before Fortay graduated and took his talents to a more appropriate setting, the Arena Football League.

Once Fortay graduated, Lucas became the unquestioned starter for his last two seasons at Rutgers. It was a time of transition for the program into the Big East including one crazy season (1993) where home games were played at Giants Stadium while Rutgers Stadium was undergoing renovations. For anyone who questioned Lucas’s impact, following his 1994 junior campaign the program would embark on 11 consecutive losing seasons before finally ending the streak in 2005.

Statistically, Lucas is the only player in Rutgers football history to throw more than 40 touchdowns and rush for 15 more. When he concluded his career, he and Scott Erney placed first and second in virtually all career passing categories before Mike McMahon, Ryan Hart, Mike Teel, and Gary Nova etched their places in the record books. Lucas finished his Rutgers career with the all-time Knights career record of 43 touchdowns through the air (now fourth), placing second in both completions (514 - (now fifth) and in passing yards (5,896 - now sixth).

Jaguars V Patriots
Lucas was a Patriots special teams warrior

Professional Career

The Big Tuna, New Jersey native Bill Parcells, then with the New England Patriots took a chance on Lucas as an “athlete” having seen other teams succeed in making college quarterbacks valuable weapons. Lucas played special teams for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI in their loss to the Green Bay Packers. When Parcells moved on to the Jets in 1998, Lucas followed, still with dreams of playing quarterback. The Jets fell in the AFC title game to prevent Ray from participating in his second super bowl.

In the 1999 season, the Jets were Super Bowl favorites (not a typo) and Lucas was on the team as a special teams gunner and emergency, emergency quarterback. Disaster struck in Week 1 when starting quarterback Vinny Testaverde was lost for the season. Parcells initially turned to Tom Tupa the team’s punter, a former NFL starting quarterback, and the Jets had the lead. Based on the rules at the time he was allowed to bring in veteran backup Rick Mirer in the 4th quarter which Parcells did and the Jets went on to lose the first of many games.

By Week 10, Lucas started as Parcells and jets fans (including me) had seen enough of Mirer, a former #2 overall pick. Ray led the Jets to victory, the first win as a starting quarterback by any former Scarlet Knights signal caller. Lucas would start behind center the rest of the season winning six of eight to even the Jets record at 8-8. Testaverde returned in 2000, and Lucas was back to the bench. Lucas finished his career in 2002 after stops with the Miami Dolphins (where he started 6 more games) and Baltimore Ravens.

Ray Lucas #6
Lucas started for his hometown Jets and defeated his former team on Monday Night Football.

After his playing days

In 2006 Lucas joined SNY as a New York Jets (and Rutgers Football) analyst where in 2010 he won a New York Emmy. In 2009, Lucas began his stint with the Rutgers Radio Network, broadcasting Rutgers football games allowing him to double as a BTN contributor. His legacy off the field is not only marked by his regular TV appearances, but as a spokesman for those with addictions to painkillers, not just athletes.

Congrats Ray!

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series in which we will profile every inductee of the Rutgers 2017 Hall of Fame class.