The 2017 Rutgers Football season is almost here, as training camp began today. Janarion Grant, Tariq Cole, and Robert Martin are notable players that RU fans expect to perform with excellence on the field this season. On the other hand, there are other talented Scarlet Knights that are flying under radar who may be impact players for the 2017 season. Here are the three Scarlet Knights that I hope can be positive contributors on the field.
1. Damon Mitchell
Some Rutgers fans may have heard of him, but the Big Ten and most of the college football world outside of the SEC have not. Damon Mitchell is an Arkansas graduate transfer who is ready to play and has something to prove. Mitchell is originally from Egg Harbor City, NJ and he’s back in his home state to play Big Ten football. Back at Arkansas, he was a “Swiss Army knife”, playing in all three phases of the game at times on offense, defense, and special teams. However, he didn’t have a clear role, which led him to produce sporadic stats during his four year tenure with the Razorbacks.
Damon Mitchell played very well in the Spring Game and scored a touchdown. Depending on training camp, Mitchell may end up as the No. 2 receiver on the depth chart. With obtaining SEC experience, carrying a chip on his shoulder, and hopefully playing along side his brother Ahmir Mitchell, who is recovering from an ACL injury, Damon Mitchell should be a positive contributor for the Scarlet Knights. He’s a leader for the young underclassmen to look up to and will hopefully be a force against the B1G competition.
2. Dacoven Bailey
Dacoven Bailey is under the radar, but has a chance to shine in the 2017 season. Bailey didn’t have much playing time last year, but he has potential to be a good weapon on offense. Bailey is a solid player with speed and versatility, with the ability to run between the tackles and catch balls out of the backfield. He made some difficult catches and executed sharp routes during the second half of the spring game. You may hear Bailey’s name more often.
3. Manny Taylor
Manny Taylor had an excellent spring game performance and was consistent with his blocking. His strength was pass blocking and kept the defensive line in check. The offensive line played awful in 2016 and often didn’t allow the quarterbacks, whether it was Chris Laviano or Gio Rescigno, any time to read the defense to execute a pass play. If Manny Taylor continues to play as well in training camp as he did in the Spring game, he could find a key role for the Scarlet Knights.