Best Rutgers Offensive Player
OT Tariq Cole, Sr.
With NFL size and upside, the 6-6, 320-pounder will be the star of a decent-looking line and one of the Big Ten’s better pass protectors. He’ll be looked at on the right side at the next level, and worked at guard early in his career, but he’ll close out a strong, all-star career as one of the Big Ten’s best left tackles.
2. RB Jon Hilliman, Sr.
3. RB Raheem Blackshear, Soph.
4. TE Jerome Washington, Sr.
5. QB Artur Sitkowski, Fr.
Best Rutgers Defensive Player
LB Trevor Morris, Sr.
The team’s leading tackler over the last two seasons, the 6-1, 232-pounder followed up a 102-tackle season with 118 stops with 3.5 tackles for loss.
The Academic All-Big Ten star might not do too much behind the line, but he’s great at eating up everything against the run – and getting in on the play – closing out last season with 18 tackles against Indiana and 19 against Michigan State.
2. LB Deonte Roberts, Sr.
3. S Saquan Hampton, Sr.
4. S K.J. Gray, Jr.
5. CB Isaiah Wharton, Sr.
Key Player To A Successful Season
WR Bo Melton, Soph.
Or Hunter Hayek, or Everett Wormley, or anyone who can stretch the field a bit for one of the nation’s least-effective passing games. The 5-11 Melton only came up with four catches for 83 yards as a true freshman, but he showed off a little bit of the tremendous track star speed that should make him the deep threat the offense desperately needs. After a strong offseason, and with the move to start pushing the offense more, the opportunities will be there.
Key Game To The Rutgers Season
Indiana, Sept. 29
The Scarlet Knights still had a shot at going bowling. They were 4-6 and needed to win their final two games against Indiana and Michigan State to get the job done. Instead, they were blown out by a combined score of 81-7, getting shut out by the Hoosiers 41-0.
If everything goes according to plan, they should be 3-1 to start the season – beating Texas State Kansas and Buffalo, and losing at Ohio State – and if they can get by the Hoosiers, and with Illinois up next, a 5-1 start isn’t a crazy dream.
2017 Rutgers Fun Stats
– 4th Down Conversions: Opponents 9-of-15 (60%) – Rutgers 4-of-14 (32%)
– Fumbles: Rutgers 13 (lost 9) – Opponents 14 (lost 3)
– Passing Yards: Opponents 2,601 – Rutgers 1,387