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2014 Rutgers Recruiting Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 12, 2014


2014 Rutgers Scarlet Knights ... Head Coach: Kyle Flood


Rutgers Scarlet Knights

2014 Schedule
8/30 at Wash St (in Seattle)
9/6 Howard
9/13 Penn State
9/20 at Navy
9/27 Tulane
10/4 Michigan
10/11 OPEN DATE
10/18 at Ohio State
10/25 at Nebraska
11/1 Wisconsin
11/8 OPEN DATE
11/15 Indiana
11/22 at Michigan State
11/29 at Maryland

2013 Record: 6-7
8/29 at Fresno State L 52-51 OT
9/7 Norfolk State W 38-0
9/14 Eastern Mich W 28-10
9/21 Arkansas W 28-24
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/5 at SMU W 55-52 3OT
10/10 at Louisville L 24-10
10/19 OPEN DATE
10/26 Houston L 49-14
11/2 Temple W 23-20
11/9 OPEN DATE
11/16 Cincinnati L 52-17
11/21 at UCF L 41-17
11/30 at Connecticut W 28-17
12/7 USF W 31-6
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
12/28 Notre Dame L 29-16
Rutgers | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: The offense has to get moving. The offensive line wasn’t physical enough – good luck with that in the Big Ten – with a ground attack that only came up with 130 yards per game. The pass defense wasn’t much better, with the fourth-worst production allowing 312 yards per game and getting bombed on by anyone able to throw a forward pass. The team was able to get to a bowl game despite a slew of issues with turnovers, finishing 119th in the nation in turnover margin.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. It was a rough recruiting season, but the Scarlet Knights were able to improve the offensive front for life in the Big Ten. Marcus Applefield from Florida and Logan Lister out of Texas at tackle, and 6-6, 375-pound Tariq Cole is a potentially big blaster at guard. The secondary got the most help for the defense with safety Saquan Hampton a good-looking get and Kam Lott out of Jacksonville the best of the corners.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 32. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. The secondary got a terrific haul of players with corner Nadir Barnwell as good as any defensive back recruit in the Big East, and Janarion Grant and T.J. Taylor two excellent prospects. Myles Nash and Lester Liston are good linebackers, but the front seven will be better because of the linemen including tackle Josh Klecko and end Sebastian Joseph. Guard Dorian Miller might be the team's best overall recruit, while running back Dontea Ayres and receiver Andre Patton should become starters down the road.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 27. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Last year, head coach Greg Schiano brought in a terrific class or running backs, and the speed and talent in the defensive backfield was addressed in previous seasons. Now it’s on to the passing game to find QBs Chas Dodd and Gary Nova some playmakers for the next several years. By owning New Jersey as much as possible, Schiano had a terrific class of wideouts coming in. However, now it’ll be a feeding frenzy for prospects with Schiano leaving to take the Tampa Bay job. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 27. That Class Was Heavy On ... Running backs. Rutgers might not have come up with a loaded class in any one area, but no one in the Big East can match the upper-end star power. Losing top corner Lafayette Pitts to Pitt at the last second stung, but getting receiver Miles Shuler, with his sub-4.4 speed, defensive tackle Marquise Wright, and offensive tackle Keith Lumpkin makes the class strong. Keeping running back Savon Huggins at home when Auburn, USC, and other big names came calling was the big coup. The 6-0, 200-pounder will be the centerpiece of the attack, while Charles Davis and Ben Martin are lightning fast rushing options.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 46. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. For the second year in a row, Greg Schiano wanted to do whatever it took to upgrade the athleticism of the defensive backfield. The competition should be intense with big-time safety prospects Jordan Thomas, Lorenzo Waters, and Jeremy Deering all big and all fast, and corner Tejay Johnson an great prospect with NFL measurables. 6-6 Brandon Coleman should be the team's next star receiver, but the focus of the offense is on the line with six blockers signed.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 27. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. The departures of S Courtney Greene and CB Jason McCourty made this unit a priority for Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers didn’t have to travel very far to land S Abdul Smith and CB Duron Harmon, two of the best at their positions in the region. Schiano added quality and quantity to the secondary, which will prove especially valuable a year from now.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Notre Dame 29, Rutgers 16
Basically … Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals and TJ Jones and Tarean Folston ran for short scores as Notre Dame got by the Scarlet Knights in an entertaining game that was expected to be a big blowout. Rutgers answered the Jones eight-yard score with a 14-yard Brandon Coleman touchdown catch late in the first quarter to tie it at 10, and the two went into the locker room tied at 13. It was all Notre Dame in the second half, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 13 to 3 and dominating, but failing to turn the game into a blowout as the Rutgers D stiffened time and again.

- Notre Dame outgained Rutgers 494 yards to 236. The Irish forced four turnovers and gave away just one.
- Time of possession: Notre Dame 38:16 – Rutgers 21:44
- Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees completed 27-of-47 passes for 319 yards
- Rutgers QB Chas Dodd completed 10-of-28 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown with three picks.
- Notre Dame PK Kyle Brindza connected on five of six field goal attempts hitting from 21, 38, 26, 25 and 49 yards out, missing from 44 yards away. He also punted once for 34 yards.
- Rutgers SS Lorenzo Waters made 12 tackles with a tackle for loss.
- Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt made four tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss.

at Rutgers 31, South Florida 6
Basically … Rutgers became bowl eligible with two short touchdown runs from Paul James and two Chas Dodd touchdown passes with a 12-yarder to Andre Patton and a two-yarder from Michael Burton. Marvin Kloss hit two field goals for South Florida, but the offense managed just 151 yards and was mistake-prone all game long. The Scarlet Knights were never threatened.
- First downs: Rutgers 25, USF 8
- Rutgers RB Paul James ran 26 times for 113 yards and two scores.
- Penalties: South Florida 11 for 99 yards – Rutgers 8 for 81 yards
- South Florida rushing yards: 20 for 10 yards

at Connecticut 28, Rutgers 17
Basically … Connecticut took advantage of three turnover and got two Casey Cochran touchdown passes and two Max DeLorenzo touchdown runs on the way to a stunning win. Rutgers still needs a win to become bowl eligible, and blew it against the Huskies after getting up 17-14 on a three-yard Justin Goodwin touchdown run. UConn scored 14 unanswered points, all in the fourth.
- Connecticut QB Clint Cochran completed 25-of-33 passes for 311 yards and two scores.
- Rutgers QB Chas Dodd completed 16-of-35 passes for 286 yards and two picks.
- Rutgers was -3 in turnover margin and converted 4-of-14 third down chances, but connected on all three of its fourth down chances.
- Connecticut WR Deshon Foxx caught nine passes for 117 yards

at UCF 41, Rutgers 17
Basically … UCF got up 21-0 on two Storm Johnson touchdown runs and a four-yard Breshad Perriman catch, and then pulled away in the second half on two Shawn Moffitt field goals and a one-yard William Stanback touchdown run for a 41-14 lead. The Rutgers offense managed just 221 yards getting helped by a blocked punt for a score late in the first half.
- UCF controlled the clock for 38:26
- UCF QB Blake Bortles completed 21-of-30 passes for 335 yards and a score.
- Rutgers was held to just 69 rushing yards. Gary Nova and Chris Dodd completed 15-of-43 passes for 152 yards with a pick.
- UCF RB Storm Johnson ran 16 times for 75 yards and two scores, and he caught two passes for 12 yards.

Cincinnati 52, at Rutgers 17
Basically … Cincinnati got four touchdown passes from Brendon Kay including first quarter strikes from 24 and 66 yards away to Mekale McKay. The two hooked up for a 34-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter for a 52-7 lead. Rutgers got a 16-yard touchdown catch from Brandon Coleman in the first, but didn’t get back on the board until late with ten points in the final five minutes.
- Cincinnati QB Brendon Kay completed 24-of-38 passes for 405 yards and four scores.
- Three Bearcat receivers – Mekale McKay, Shaq Washington and Anthony McClung each went over 100 yards receiving – and Chris Moore caught four passes for 75 yards and two scores.
- Rutgers QB Gary Nova completed 18-of-38 passes for 170 yards and a score with two picks.
- Cincinnati outgained Rutgers 619 yards to 357 with 507 yards coming through the air.

at Rutgers 23, Temple 20, Nov. 2
Basically … Rutgers, trailing 20-16 late in the fourth quarter, stopped Temple on fourth-and-one from the Scarlet Knights’ 27. Steve Longa and Kevin Snyder stopped Temple RB Kenneth Harper for a loss of one yard. Later, on Rutgers’s final possession, quarterback Gary Nova hit receiver Leonte Carroo for a 33-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left, giving the Scarlet Knights a come-from-behind win. Rutgers scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to move to 5-3 overall, 2-2 in The American. Temple fell to 1-8 and 0-5 in the conference.
- Nova finished 27-of-38 passing for 371 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
- Temple quarterback P.J. Walker completed 21-of-31 passes for 203 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
- Temple took a 20-16 lead in the fourth quarter on a 25-yard touchdown run by Harper, who finished with 12 carries for 49 yards and one touchdown.
- Carroo caught another touchdown pass of 34 yards earlier in the fourth quarter. He finished with 7 catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

at Louisville 24 … Rutgers 10
Basically … Louisville wasn’t dominant, but it did what it had to do getting up 17-0 helped by a 34-yard Kai De La Cruz touchdown catch and a one-yard Senorise Perry scoring run. Rutgers rallied back with a one-yard Tyler Kroft scoring grab late in the first, but a 36-yard Kyle Federico field goal was all the offense could muster in the second half. The Cards put it away in the final minutes on a six-yard Eli Rogers grab. The two teams combined for seven turnovers.
- The offense might get all the credit and national attention, but it was the defense that gave Louisville the big win. Safety Calvin Pryor was a menace making 14 tackles with a pick.
- The high-powered Rutgers offense never got going, and worst of all, it didn’t take advantage of the several Louisville mistakes. This was hardly the Cardinals’ best game, but the Scarlet Knights struggled to come up with any sort momentum.
- If there was any Heisman shot for Teddy Bridgewater, it might be gone for those who saw the game. He wasn’t miserable completing 21-of-31 passes for 310 yards and two scores, but he threw a pick and gave up a fourth quarter fumble. He got the win, and he probably has made Louisville a lock for a second straight BCS game after this win, but it wasn’t a superior, Heisman performance.
- Rutgers got absolutely nothing out of a running game that time and again forced the offense into second-and-third and longs. Gary Nova had to press too much, but the four picks weren’t all because he was trying to make things happen. Give the suffocating UofL defense credit.

Rutgers 55, at SMU 52 3OT
Basically … In the third overtime, SMU settled for a field goal and Rutgers answered with a 17-yard Justin Goodwin touchdown run to cap off a wild shootout. Rutgers seemingly had things well in hand, getting up 21-0 in the first half, highlighted by a 50-yard touchdown pass from Gary Nova to Justin Goodwin, and was up 35-14 going into the fourth, and then came the comeback. SMU scored 21 points in the fourth quarter on three Garrett Gilbert touchdown passes with two to Jeremy Johnson. Gilbert ran for a three-yard score in the first overtime, matched by a Leonte Carron touchdown catch to tie it up. Carron scored from 29 yards out in the second overtime, but Gilbert answered with another short scoring run.
- Rutgers certainly knows how to play interesting games, for good and for bad. The offense responded when it had to in the overtime sessions after a rough fourth quarter, with Justin Goodwin coming up with 149 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while leading the team with 73 receiving yards with a score on two catches.
- SMU didn’t give up. Garrett Gilbert has the ability to put up big games like this once in a while, completing 45-of-70 passes for 484 yards and five touchdowns to go along with two rushing scores. He’ll get most of the spotlight after this tough loss, but it was Jeremy Johnson who came up big the entire game with 18 catches for 217 yards and three scores.
- Nobody played any defense, but SMU linebacker Randall Joyner was always around the ball on the way to 18 tackles. There weren’t many meaningful stops until the fourth quarter – highlighted by a huge forced fumble from Zach Wood - but he was in on everything.
- And now Rutgers has to gear it back up, and fast, after this exhausting game. It would’ve been nice to have put in the backups in a blowout, but instead the team has to be ready for the showdown at Louisville on Thursday. The offense has to be ready to gear it up for another firefight, but to have any shot, there has to be even more pressure on Teddy Bridgewater than there was on Garrett Gilbert.

at Rutgers 28, Arkansas 24
Basically … Down 24-7 late in the third quarter, Rutgers came up with a tremendous rally started by a 58-yard punt return for a score from Janarion Grant. Rutgers QB Gary Nova came alive in the fourth quarter with touchdown passes to Leonte Carroo from 33 yards away and four yards out, taking the lead with just over five minutes to play, and Arkansas couldn’t do much of anything with its final chance, taking a big sack to force 4th-and-24 and a punt. Rutgers ran out the clock.
- Arkansas didn’t choke; Rutgers came up with a special fourth quarter thanks to Gary Nova, who seems to love playing the Hogs. The Scarlet Knight defense did a terrific job all game long against the Hog offense that couldn’t find any consistency.
- The Hog offensive line didn’t open up any holes – there was no room for Alex Collins or Jonathan Williams to run. The quarterback play couldn’t pick up the slack, with AJ Derby completing 14-of-26 passes, but for just 137 yards and a score.
- Arkansas did a fantastic job defensively for about three quarters, getting excellent pressure and forcing mistakes with three takeaways and five sacks. Rutgers just got really hot.
- Rutgers didn’t exactly get its running game going, coming up with just 54 yards on 36 carries, but that was partially because Nova had to start throwing. The Scarlet Knight line got routinely whipped by the Hog defensive front.

at Rutgers 28, Eastern Michigan 10, Sept. 14
Basically … Rutgers answered an early EMU field goal with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Quron Pratt, but it took Paul James second half touchdown runs from 55 and 52 yards away to finally put the game away. The Eagles were pesky, taking the lead in the second quarter on a 43-yard Ryan Brumfield touchdown catch, but the offense failed to convert long drives into points in the second half.
- Uhhh, Rutgers offense? The two Paul James big touchdown runs saved the day for an offense that came up with just 89 passing yards. James finished with 192 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, but the Scarlet Knight attack came up with just 274 yards total. Chas Dodd was awful on third downs and completed just 4-of-9 passes for 45 yards.
- EMU QB Tyler Benz threw well, chucking for 335 yards and a score, but drive after drive after drive just stalled. Rutgers didn’t allow anything on the ground – giving up just 38 yards – but the secondary was pushed.
- The Rutgers pass rush was humming. The reason EMU drives stalled was because of sacks – Rutgers came up with six. Middle linebacker Steve Longa had a game with 12 tackles with two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.
- EMU had the ball for around 31 of the final 45 minutes, but that was partly because Rutgers couldn’t grind out drives. It was all James.

at Rutgers 38, Norfolk State 0, Sept. 7
Basically … Rutgers got three touchdown runs from Paul James and an eight-yard Ruhann Peele scoring catch on the way to an easy win. Norfolk managed just 133 yards of total offense and turned it over twice. The Scarlet Knights milked the clock for over 36 minutes and had control throughout.
- It wasn’t exactly an offensive explosion following the wild game against Fresno State, but it didn’t have to be. This was about Paul James (119 yards and three scores) and Savon Huggins (96 yards and a score) and the running game, and there was no need to take any chances.
- It wasn’t exactly a focused effort. There were 11 penalties, two sacks allowed, and a mediocre day from Gary Nova and the passing game. That’s what games against teams like Norfolk State are for.
- The defensive front never let the NSU offense breathe. It was camped out in the backfield and stopped everything before it could get started.

at Fresno State 52, Rutgers 51 OT, Aug. 29
Basically … Rutgers misfired on a two-point conversion attempt in overtime to give Fresno State the win in a wild shootout. The Scarlet Knights had a shot to win in regulation, but Kyle Federico missed a 43-yarder with no time left. In OT, Derek Carr connected with Greg Watson on a 25-yard scoring pass to give Fresno State the lead. Rutgers answered with a four-yard Brandon Coleman scoring catch, but Gary Nova’s two-point conversion pass was batted away.
- How is Fresno State going to get by without running back Robbie Rouse around anymore? It’s going to throw and throw and throw. Derek Carr completed 53-of-74 passes for 470 yards and five scores with an interception.
- Rutgers found its ground game. Paul James tore off 182 yards on 22 carries and cranked out big run after big run. However, Gary Nova was the real star throwing for 348 yards and five scores including three to Leonte Carroo and two to Brandon Coleman.
- It was the first time Fresno State ever had two receivers with double-digit catches in the same game, and it actually had three. Davante Adams caught 14 balls for 148 yards and two scores, Josh Harper made 14 grabs for 94 yards and two touchdowns, and Isaiah Burse caught 13 passes for 118 yards.
- Neither defense was remotely close to stopping the other team’s attack. It was literally a case of the team having the ball last controlling its own destiny. Each team’s pass rush was non-existent, and the quarterbacks took advantage.

SPRING ANALYSIS

Why To Get Excited … the O-line has the parts and the potential to rank among the best in the Big East this season. Only RT R.J. Dill must be replaced, meaning four other starters are back in the fold. The left side will feature a pair of reigning All-Big East performers, T Kaleb Johnson and G Antwan Lowery, who’ll be even tougher following another offseason in the weight room.

Why To Be Grouchy … not only have the Scarlet Knights lost a swath of talent to graduation and early departures, but both coordinators are new as well. It’ll be a challenging offseason for second-year head coach Kyle Flood, who’ll no longer have RB Jawan Jamison, DT Scott Vallone, LB Khaseem Greene or CB Logan Ryan to lean upon this fall.

The Number One Thing to Work on Is … the offense. The line is set, but the surrounding talent still leaves plenty to be desired. Can QB Gary Nova raise the level of his game? And if not, will RB Savon Huggins pick up the slack left by Jamison’s exit? Rutgers averaged just 11 points over last year’s final four games, a trend that might bleed into 2013.

Team Concerns For 2013: While the program is waiting a year before moving over to the Big Ten, for now, cranking up the running game is a must after averaging a painful 121 yards per game. Jawan Jamison is off to the NFL early, so now it's up to Savon Huggins to live up to his superstar prep hype. The offense only average 330 yards per game for an attack that came up with more than 28 points twice all year. The defense has to replace seven starters including linebackers Khaseem Greene and Steve Beauharnais, but it should be fine. The special teams have to be far better after Kyle Federico and Nick Borgese combined to hit 11-of-19 field goals, the punting game netting just 33 yards per try and the punt returners averaging a mere 4.67 yards per attempt.

Non-Conference Games: at Fresno State, Norfolk State, Eastern Michigan, Arkansas
Realistic Best Case Record: 11-1
Worst Case Record: 7-5
Likely Finish: 10-2

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Norfolk State, Eastern Michigan, Arkansas, at SMU, Houston, Temple, Cincinnati, at UCF, at Connecticut, USF

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Fresno State, at Louisville

Schedule Analysis: Can the Scarlet Knights get by the BCS killers at Fresno State to start the season? The Bulldogs are going to be nasty , but a win could be the difference between a good start and a rough one. Can Rutgers beat Arkansas for the second season in a row? At home, yeah, maybe, but going to SMU and then facing Louisville on the road five days later is going to be brutal. With a 3-2 record or possibly even a 4-1 run, all of a sudden it’s Game On with the toughest games the rest of the way coming against Cincinnati and South Florida at home. Back-to-back road games at UCF and Connecticut shouldn’t be that bad coming nine days apart.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. The secondary got a terrific haul of players with corner Nadir Barnwell as good as any defensive back recruit in the Big East, and Janarion Grant and T.J. Taylor two excellent prospects. Myles Nash and Lester Liston are good linebackers, but the front seven will be better because of the linemen including tackle Josh Klecko and end Sebastian Joseph. Guard Dorian Miller might be the team's best overall recruit, while running back Dontea Ayres and receiver Andre Patton should become starters down the road.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 27. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Last year, head coach Greg Schiano brought in a terrific class or running backs, and the speed and talent in the defensive backfield was addressed in previous seasons. Now it’s on to the passing game to find QBs Chas Dodd and Gary Nova some playmakers for the next several years. By owning New Jersey as much as possible, Schiano had a terrific class of wideouts coming in. However, now it’ll be a feeding frenzy for prospects with Schiano leaving to take the Tampa Bay job. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 27. That Class Was Heavy On ... Running backs. Rutgers might not have come up with a loaded class in any one area, but no one in the Big East can match the upper-end star power. Losing top corner Lafayette Pitts to Pitt at the last second stung, but getting receiver Miles Shuler, with his sub-4.4 speed, defensive tackle Marquise Wright, and offensive tackle Keith Lumpkin makes the class strong. Keeping running back Savon Huggins at home when Auburn, USC, and other big names came calling was the big coup. The 6-0, 200-pounder will be the centerpiece of the attack, while Charles Davis and Ben Martin are lightning fast rushing options.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 46. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. For the second year in a row, Greg Schiano wanted to do whatever it took to upgrade the athleticism of the defensive backfield. The competition should be intense with big-time safety prospects Jordan Thomas, Lorenzo Waters, and Jeremy Deering all big and all fast, and corner Tejay Johnson an great prospect with NFL measurables. 6-6 Brandon Coleman should be the team's next star receiver, but the focus of the offense is on the line with six blockers signed.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 27. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. The departures of S Courtney Greene and CB Jason McCourty made this unit a priority for Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers didn’t have to travel very far to land S Abdul Smith and CB Duron Harmon, two of the best at their positions in the region. Schiano added quality and quantity to the secondary, which will prove especially valuable a year from now.
 

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