The 2018 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
No. 79: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Spring Practice Starts: March 6
Spring Game: April 14
Rutgers Scarlet Prespring Status
There’s actual hope for the Scarlet Knights coming off a 4-8 season.
Yes, the team closed out scoring just 13 points in the final three games, and yes, the young talent needs to grow into more productive talent, but there’s hope with a whole lot of the key parts back.
The receiving corps takes the biggest hit, but the quarterback situation is promising with a combination of depth and experience, and the O line should be okay for the ground game.
The defensive front loses two good linemen, but overall, the defense should be the best in the Chris Ash era with a good offseason to find the right combination.
The schedule is still going to be a problem being in the Big Ten East, but it’s not asking for the world to be two wins better and go bowling.
Rutgers Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Quarterback. The Scarlet Knights desperately need a breakout receiver, but they also need a quarterback who can start to push the ball down the field a bit more.
Johnathan Lewis is the big recruit from a few years ago with the upside to be the star, but can he beat out Gio Rescigno? Will new recruit Artur Sitkowski be good enough to take over right away? What about Western Michigan transfer Tom Flacco, Joe’s brother? At least there’s talent and there are options.
Rutgers Biggest Issue
Scoring, scoring, scoring. The offense played a stall-ball version of the four corners to keep games within range, but that didn’t work when the team started to get behind. The O couldn’t move the chains, was the second-worst in the country in first downs, and managed just 17 points or fewer nine times. In some way, the attack has to be more explosive under new offensive coordinator, John McNulty, the former OC under Greg Schiano.
Rutgers Biggest Positive
The tacklers are there. There needs to be more of a pass rush, and it’s not like the D was a rock throughout last year, but if it gets more from the offense, there should be a boost. Six of the top seven tacklers and eight of the top ten are back, with the linebacking corps looking like a positive.
Really, Why Are The Rutgers Scarlet Knights Ranked Here?
There’s still a whole lot of work to do to keep building up the program. There still has to be the right scheme, the right gameplan, and the right breaks to compete in a division with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, but Ash has brought in just enough good young options to finally start to turn a corner.