2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 73 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Rutgers Scarlet Knights
No. 73: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Prespring Status
It wasn’t a fun first year under Chris Ash, needing to reboot the entire program after the problems of a disastrous 2015, but there’s still a long way to go in Year Two. The Scarlet Knights had the second-worst scoring offense, the second-least efficient passing game, and the third-worst defense, getting blown out in game after game after game. How bad was it? Over the nine-game losing streak to close out the season, the offense was held to seven points or fewer six times and scored 13 or fewer eight times on the year.
Fortunately, eight starters return on offense, eight are back on defense, and if this all works out, all the growing pains suffered last season by starting young player after young player might start to pay off. At least that’s the hope.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Biggest Issue
The quarterback situation. Former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill checks in as the new offensive coordinator, and Job One is to find a quarterback who can be a difference-maker in the best division in college football. Chris Laviano and Hayden Rettig both left, and now Giovanni Rescigno gets a shot to take back the starting job this spring after having a few decent moments. However, new recruit Johnathan Lewis might have a shot right away, and Tyler Oden and Zach Allen will have a shot – even though the last two combined to hit 2-of-20 passes for one yard.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Biggest Positive
As bad as the offense was, at least there’s experience. Getting back WR Janarion Grant for another year after he got knocked out early will help, and Juwuan Harris is promising at of the other top receiving spots. Two of the top three running backs return, Gus Edwards is transferring in from Miami, the left side of the line is back, and again, there are options at quarterback. If the O can do something, anything, this could quickly turn into a five-win team.
Really, Why Are The Rutgers Scarlet Knights Ranked Here?
Was Rutgers just that bad, or was it because the Big Ten East was such a bear, or both? It didn’t help the cause to deal with Washington, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, but Michigan State, Illinois and Maryland won in blowouts, too. Ash has a whole lot of returning experience to work with, but the team has a long, long way to go to merely be decent.