Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano has named Gavin Wimsatt the starting quarterback for the 2023 football season. The move came as a surprise, not because of the player picked, but because of how early Schiano committed.
So what would a successful debut look like for Gavin Wimsatt?
Knowing that Wimsatt is locked in as the starting QB, let’s look back at the statistics of former Rutgers quarterback’s first full season as starting QB to set a benchmark.
First up is Artur Sitkowski in 2018.
This was a year to forget for the Scarlet Knights as they went 1-11 with their only win over Texas State. Quarterback play factored heavily into this debacle with Sitkowski starting 11 games. He completed 134 of 273 attempts for 1,158 yards with 4tds and 18ints, good for a 49.7% completion rate and a .22 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He averaged 4.2 yards per attempt and had a QB rating of 76.4.
With low stats and a terrible record this season was not a success — and we hope for more in Wimsatt’s first season as a starter.
Next up is Noah Vedral in 2021. Rutgers turned in a record of 5-7 and due to positive COVID tests on the Texas A&M squad, went to the Gator Bowl. Vedral started 13 games and completed 181-of-304 passes for 1,854 yards with 7tds and 7ints. This amounts to a 59.5% completion rate and a 1:1 touchdown-to-interception rate. Vedral also fared better than Sitkowski in passing yards per attempt at 6.1 yards, and had a quarterback efficiency rating of 113.8 that year. All in all, 2021 was a moderately successful season and part of that was due to better play at the QB position.
Going back a little further we have one of the more underappreciated QBs in recent Rutgers history in Gary Nova. In his freshman year, Nova split time with Chas Dodd so we will be looking at his 2012 season stats here. In 2012, Nova led Rutgers to a record of 9-4 and completed 221-of-338 passes for 2,695 yards with 22tds and 16 ints. This was good for a 57% completion percentage and 1.375 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Nova outshines our previous two entries with 7.1 yards per attempt and an efficiency rating of 125.8. Nova played well in 2012 and Wimsatt should be thrilled to see as much positional success.
Lastly, we are going to look at Mike Teel’s first season as a full-time starter. Mike Teel is considered to be the best quarterback in Rutgers history and his first year as a full-time starter was the legendary 2006 season. In that season, Teel completed 164-of-296 passes for 2,135 yards with 12tds and 13 ints. This amounts to a 55.4 completion percentage and a .92 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Teel averaged 9.0 yards per attempt and finished with a quarterback rating of 120.6. If Wimsatt could replicate this season, any Rutgers fan would be over the moon.
Predicting the success of the Scarlet Knights for the 2023-24 season comes down to more than just the play of the quarterback, but using a bad season from Sitkowski, a mediocre season from Vedral, and two good years from Nova and Teel, we can get an idea of some numbers that would represent success for Wimsatt in his first year as a starter. To get these numbers, I took the average of the stats from the other four quarterbacks first years starting.
A successful first year for Wimsatt would look like this, 175 passes on 302 attempts for 1,960 yards with 11tds and 13ints. This would be good for a 57.9% completion percentage and 6.49 yards per attempt and a quarterback efficiency of 115.87. These passing numbers combined with his expected rushing success could help lead Rutgers to a solid season that we can all enjoy. Let me know in the comments if you agree!