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Rutgers Football Hype Machine Votes are in!

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Top three finishers’ careers go in three different directions.

Rutgers v Cincinnati
Huggins compiled his best yardage total in a crucial win over Cinci.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Last Wednesday you voted on what former Rutgers Football player was expected to do the most as soon as he arrived on the banks. Here are the results with some thoughts below. If votes and my thoughts aren’t enough, controversies

Poll

Who was the most hyped prospect in Rutgers Football history?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Malik Jackson. The hot dog himself.
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Mike McMahon. Sunshine Ronnie Bass for real.
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Raheem Orr, a physical freak.
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    Nate Robinson. Top 10 player in the nation at RU!
    (22 votes)
  • 21%
    Anthony Davis. Just look at him.
    (63 votes)
  • 18%
    Tom Savage. Expecting Tom Brady.
    (54 votes)
  • 36%
    Savon Huggins. JJ Jennings 2.0.
    (106 votes)
  • 7%
    Darius Hamilton. Enough to keep an entire recruiting class together.
    (21 votes)
  • 0%
    Micah Clark / Bo Melton. Just wait ...
    (1 vote)
  • 6%
    Art Sitkowski. Heisman or bust!
    (19 votes)
293 votes total Vote Now

This was the most fun poll to watch the votes tally up and comments roll in up to this point in this series. There’s something about hope that draws people to sports and the possibility of what their team could accomplish, one day. It was fun to remember positive expectations of yesteryear, (not always met) when it felt like the football gods were finally tilting the college football landscape in Rutgers’s favor just a tad.

Gold: Savon Huggins. 36% of the vote.

Even though his career didn’t turn out the way he or at least 36% of these voters had hoped, Huggins will forever be a key domino during a critical time in Rutgers Football history. Savon was the big fish that stuck with Rutgers after the dismal 2010 season. With the success of Anthony Davis before him as the state’s number one prospect, expectations were through the roof for the star running back from St. Peter’s. The hype around Rutgers football in 2011 was key to the Big Ten ultimately deciding to expand to New Jersey. Savon’s commitment was absolutely crucial to keeping his class together AND the 2012 class that built the foundation of the successful 2014 team.

On the field, Huggins was a serviceable though unspectacular runner who fans, like Johnny Funtimes in New Brunswick, had hoped would bring Terrell Willis speed in Bruce Presley’s body. I broke down the Virginia Tech scheme in the Russell Athletic Bowl where in his defense, the Rutgers coaching staff did not make adjustments to help him. Despite having size and speed, Savon never really had that extra gear and wasn’t able to set up blocks enough to fully wear on defensive players with his size. Battling injuries while Paul James, Robert Martin, and Josh Hicks flashed the skills fans were waiting to see from Huggins caused him to go to Northern Iowa as a graduate transfer.

Silver: Anthony Davis. 22% of the vote.

Football is about being big and strong so it’s no surprise that when the biggest, strongest guy literally on the block joins your team, it brings a lot of excitement. As mentioned above, Anthony was the number one player in New Jersey and could have gone to any program in the country, but stayed home at Rutgers even though his relationship with Greg Schiano was rumored never to have been good. It’s also worth noting that enthusiasm for Davis rode the wave of the most successful season in three decades for the Scarlet Knights.

Davis’s physical gifts were so great that he started immediately at guard in the spot vacated by Cam Stephenson who had been drafted by Pittsburgh. After his true junior year, there was nothing left to accomplish for the offensive tackle, so he declared for the NFL draft. His impact was so huge that the offensive line went from being a team strength to allowing an NCAA leading 61 sacks the following season. So, somehow you could say Davis exceeded expectations as he went on to be the highest drafted player in Rutgers Football history, 11th overall as costigan_56 indicated.

Bronze: Tom Savage. 18% of the vote.

Savage easily edged the 4th and 5th place finishers by a 10% margin, something that surprised me just a bit. Despite costigan_56 indicating Art as a unanimous nod, perhaps an overly pessimistic fan base that is not sold on Sitkowski’s high school stats. dronebee50 also made the point that it was hard to rate McMahon here because of how his hype individually is difficult to distinguish from the overall Terry Shea expectations. Nevertheless, Savage was a consensus top 10 quarterback in the country and ended up starting as a true freshman so it’s tough to argue he didn’t have both potential and prove it. Of course Savage only played parts of two seasons and then transferred before he was killed by so many sacks allowed once Davis left the banks. Had he finished his career at Rutgers (whether or not it was after trying to transfer back to the school), people would probably have been skewed even more in his direction.

Savage edged the other two quarterbacks COMBINED by 10%. So, Savage was far and away the biggest quarterback to join the Rutgers program, or was he? The biggest controversy in this poll revolves around another #7, dronebee50 made the point that Bryan Fortay did likely warrant inclusion and would have gotten at least one vote. RAS61 recalls Fortay being the #1 high school quarterback out of high school. Note that Robinson was in the spot on the 247 composite rankings because they don’t go back as far as the early 90s, but I also felt that since Bryan came in as a transfer after not winning the job he was “promised” at Miami it took a little bit away from hype had he committed to RU directly. And since he followed Fortay as a Miami transfer, Robinson’s expectations from the fan base likely were a tad lower than the recruiting services indicate. TrollsDestroyedNJcom made a good point about Nate Robinson as well.

Notable: Solid comments this week. The player who I was most curious to see how he would be rated was Darius Hamilton. thevinman indicated he was torn as many other voters probably were with Darius. With an NFL pedigree from arguably the state’s number one program at the time (Don Bosco Prep), people were going bazerk that Hamilton did not contribute more as a TRUE FRESHMAN on the line despite being a rotational player who was ready to start by late in the season. I think his stock in this poll was hurt by the hindsight that he never caught on in the NFL.

Missing in action: Micah Clark/ Bo Melton got one vote. Perhaps it was the overall lack of confidence in the program after Ash’s initial 2-10 campaign, but I thought a class featuring two borderline five star prospects would have brought a little more enthusiasm. Also solid mention by RAS61 on Berkeley Hutchinson who I decided against including because I opted for Raheem Orr instead although both players were very close in the expectations they brought. But I could be biased in Orr being from North Jersey like I am.

Thanks for participating and look for another opportunity to vote this Wednesday. The category this week comes from the anti-hype: who exceeded expectations the most in Rutgers Football history? Again in the age of social media, this may be skewed toward more recent athletes who were written off before they even got a chance. The hint for this week’s movie theme is, blade, blazer, laser ...

For all those men (women are rarely scared of drama) who continue to vote, but are too scared to comment ...