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Impact of Wisconsin WR Transfer Aron Cruickshank at Rutgers

The former 3-star recruit from New York joins two former High School teammates at RU.

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Oregon vs Wisconsin
Cruickshank high stepped to the end zone for this Rose Bowl Touchdown.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

After Boston College transfer Ireland Burke joined the Scarlet Knights football program officially Friday, Aron Cruickshank did the same on Saturday. Cruickshank was the Second Team All-Big Ten return specialist at Wisconsin this past season. He rejoins former Erasmus Hall teammates Christian Izien and Kessawn Abraham on the banks.

A former very high 3-star recruit, Cruickshank was the 6th best New York high school player and 36th best athlete nationally in the 2018 class according to the 247 composite which includes other sources. He chose Wisconsin over virtually every other Big Ten program, including Ohio State. As a true freshman in 2018, Cruickshank played in all 13 games, mostly as a kick return specialist, returning 26 for 533 yards. He was used on jet sweeps (six carries, 51 yards, and a touchdown) but only caught one pass for 11 yards.

In 14 games in 2019 as a sophomore, Aron carried the ball 13 times for 138 yards and another touchdown in the Badgers’ one-dimensional run first, run second offense. He caught just three passes for 29 yards, though. He returned 23 kicks for 674 yards and two touchdowns. Despite returning just two punts, he was named Second Team All Big Ten return specialist. The Big one came after the voting in the Rose Bowl against Oregon when he was just too fast for the Ducks. Check out the clip below.

Cruickshank entered the transfer portal on January 9 and Rutgers was in hot pursuit since. He took an official visit this weekend and it didn’t even take chants at the RAC to secure his services. Aron has three years to play two but may need to sit out next season due to transfer rules. He will likely apply for a hardship waiver and await the decision of the NCAA.

There’s speed and then there’s whatever I saw in Cruickshank’s highlights. He doesn’t have a lot of moves, but simply outruns people. Rather than sacrifice his speed advantage, Aron uses subtle movements that provoke defenders to hesitate just long enough for him to fly by. The wide receiver room at Rutgers is seeing a lot of turnover with plenty of juniors and seniors. If eligible, Cruickshank will fill a role filled by Raheem Blackshear in the slot. Then the goal would be to expand his capabilities as a receiver after the pending graduations of Bo Melton and Mo Jabbie following the 2020 season as a flanker. Isaiah Washington’s role as the split end will likely remain the same, but we will see in spring practice. Greg Schiano and Sean Gleeson want to make defenses defend the width of the field and Cruickshank has the ability to do just that.

Position: WR (5’9”, 161 lbs.)

Previous stop: Wisconsin

High School: Erasmus Hall

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Most notable offers (High School): Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan

In his second tenure in Piscataway, Head Coach Greg Schiano said he wanted expand into more Big Ten country. The transfer portal has been a super highway for the Scarlet Knights this offseason with all the players coming and going, several from fellow conference programs. Family was really the key here as Aron is closer to home, reunited with two of his close friends. Both Izien and Abraham (see below) posted nearly identical tweets with smiles on their faces.

Check out another blast of speed on this kick return touchdown against Nebraska:

Welcome to the banks Aron!