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Should Rutgers look at the QB transfer market?

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Plenty of big name quarterbacks are testing the waters and looking to transfer. Will the Scarlet Knights pursue any of these signal callers?

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Notre Dame Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no secret about it; Rutgers football needs to reevaluate the quarterback position moving forward in 2019. Standing six-foot-five, and weighing in at 224 pounds, Artur Sitkowski certainly looks like an ideal starting quarterback in the Big Ten. However, his play was concerning, as the freshman threw 18 interceptions, and only four touchdowns in his rookie campaign. In his defense, he didn’t have a lot of weapons and had poor pass protection at times, but that doesn’t fully excuse the poor play.

As of now, it looks like the job is Sitkowski’s to lose going into the 2019 season. The Class of 2019 features one quarterback, three-star gunslinger Cole Snyder (6’0”, 193, Jamestown, N.Y.), who would greatly benefit from sitting a year, developing his skills and filling out his frame. Johnathan Lewis is eligible to redshirt after playing just four games this past year. He may turn out to be a better fit as a playmaking, flex tight end, the position he switched to midseason, rather than at quarterback. Former Bergen Catholic star Johnny Langan has returned to the program, but he may not be the answer right away, as he is still waiting to find out if he will be eligible for next season.

That begs us to ask the question, should Rutgers consider shopping the quarterback transfer market? If so, who would be a good fit. Let’s look at some options.

BRANDON WIMBUSH, GRADUATE TRANSFER, NOTRE DAME

Ian Book took over for Wimbush, and now Notre Dame is in the College Football Playoff, but the six-foot-two, Teaneck, N.J. native isn’t an after thought. He did help Notre Dame beat Michigan in the season opener, and has been a fixture in the program during his career.

In 2017, Wimbush completed 136 of his 275 passing attempts for 1,870 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. In limited playing time this year, Wimbush put up pedestrian numbers (54/102 passing, 719 YDS, 4 TD, 6 INT).

The Notre Dame label and former four-star ranking will make Wimbush a hot commodity, but that doesn’t mean that Rutgers won’t have a shot at landing him. Yes he’s a New Jersey native, and that should help Rutgers case, but that’s not the only source of leverage the Scarlet Knights have.

Wimbush is a Power Five player, and the appeal of playing in the Big Ten will be a big selling point for him. Questions about his leadership can be answered if he chooses Rutgers and somehow leads them to a bowl eligible season. He’ll earn a lot of respect for coming home, taking a 1-11 team and getting them into a bowl game. Scouts will take notice of a feat like that.

The offense can add more dimensions and tailor the playbook to fit Wimbush’s skillset. He’s a true dual-threat quarterback. During his time at Notre Dame, he rushed for 1,156 yards and 16 touchdowns. Scarlet Knights redshirt senior Gio Rescigno, who is a fairly mobile quarterback, showed what could possibly become of the offense if they start a speedy QB.

Against Michigan State, Rescigno made plays on his feet, carrying the ball 13 times for 61 yards. Wimbush is a far better dual threat quarterback, so imagine what that stat line would have been with him under center.

Penn State, Michigan State, Purdue, Georgia Tech, FSU, Auburn, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Maryland are other schools that could possibly pursue Wimbush.

TYREE JACKSON, GRADUATE TRANSFER, BUFFALO

Does the name sound familiar, Rutgers fans? Remember Jackson’s 263 yard, three touchdown performance in the Buffalo Bulls 42-13 win over the Scarlet Knights this year?

Jackson hits the transfer market bringing size (6’7”, 245 lbs.) and a strong arm, but little experience playing against big time competition. He benefited greatly from having Anthony Johnson at wide receiver. Johnson is considered a top 10 wide receiver in the upcoming NFL Draft.

NCAA Football: Dollar General Bowl-Buffalo vs Troy John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

This past season, Jackson completed 225 of 407 passing attempts, for 3,131 yards, 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His completion percentage isn’t that great (career average 55.8 percent), but the whole point of taking a graduate transfer year is to mature and improve in areas as needed. He could improve on taking care of the ball, too (he threw two interceptions against Rutgers).

Rutgers could make a strong push for Jackson, selling him on the ability to come in and play right away in the Big Ten, but he’ll have to realize that he won’t have any receivers as talented as Johnson. He’ll need to make players better, and if he wants to prove something to scouts, Rutgers could be the place to do so.

Realistically, a Big Ten school will most likely land Jackson. He’s a Michigan native, and Michigan State could use him (he’d bring more to the table than current starter Brian Lewerke). Wisconsin would be another interesting school for Jackson.

OTHER OPTIONS

Players considering transferring or have been rumored to consider transferring include: Shane Buechele (Texas), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Ben Hicks (SMU), Deondre Francois (FSU), McClane Carter (Texas Tech), Ricky Town (Pitt), Brandon Peters (Michigan), Matt Fink (USC), Nick Starkel (Texas A&M), Max Bortenschlager (Maryland)

Poll

Who would you want at QB?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Brandon Wimbush
    (257 votes)
  • 29%
    Tyree Jackson
    (145 votes)
  • 19%
    Other
    (97 votes)
499 votes total Vote Now