After several conversations about the crowded backfield for running backs this season, Rutgers Head Coach Chris Ash surprised many when he announced today that true sophomore Trey Sneed will redshirt for the 2017 football season.
As reported earlier this evening by nj.com’s Ryan Dunleavy, Coach Ash said, "We have a pretty crowded backfield, and there's no reason to burn a year if we don't have to," Ash said. "I think Trey is going to be an outstanding football player for us. He could go play for us this year, but we'd love to be able to have another year out of him down the road."
Sneed originally enrolled early in January 2016, and played in every game in last season’s 2-10 campaign. It is highly unusual to redshirt a player mid-career due to a wealth of players in a particular position.
Sneed demonstrated promise as a freshman running back last season, and Ash hopes to give Trey seasoning and make him a stronger running back as a redshirt sophomore in 2018. In the same article mentioned above, Coach Ash told Dunleavy,
"He can continue to develop physically and mentally, and gain confidence," Ash said. "I thought Trey did some really good things for us last year and had a good training camp. But for the long-term good of the program, I think it's the best decision for both parties. Not only us, but for him, too."
The 5’10”, 214 pound native of Orange Park, Florida was the first freshman last season to be “knighted,” that is demonstrate he was “game-ready” for the upcoming fall. In 2016 he rushed for 53 yards on 16 carries, and had four kickoff returns for 49 yards.
This year Sneed had a strong spring and summer practice season and looked to be ready to fight for being in the rotation for running back. However, after not playing in the first two games, it seems that Coach Ash decided to save Trey for an additional year and use 2017 as a year to improve his skills.
As mentioned earlier, there has been a lot of conversation this year about the large number of running backs eligible and jockeying for playing time this season. Our own David Anderson discussed it in some detail in his review of the position just three weeks ago. With three seniors in the group (graduate transfer Gus Edwards, and seniors Robert Martin III and Josh Hicks) playing their last year of eligibility, redshirting Sneed is actually a good move, as he will have more opportunities for playing time next year as a redshirt sophomore than he would have this year as a true sophomore.
We will report more on this story as it becomes available.