Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2022 Football Preview

For many football fans, Rutgers football could be seen as the downfall of a horrible Jim Delany joke. Truth be told, no matter what you think of Rutgers’ athleticism in the Big Ten, Rutgers bringing the Big Ten to the New York metro area was never a joke. In 2014, that meant an additional $48 million per year for BTN alone. This was back when conference payments to each Big Ten school acquired were $32 million.

But Rutgers football was always a joke, right? Not when Delany moves. Rutgers played nine bowling games in ten seasons from 2005 to 2014… but since then? 21-61 over the past seven seasons, though the Scarlet Knights pulled off a last-minute Gator Bowl invite last season, replacing injury, COVID and a transfer gate-riddled Texas A&M team that had to pull out Match. With less than a week to prepare for the match, Rutgers lost 38-10 to Wake Forest. But with just 12 returning starters, 2022 doesn’t exactly look like the year for Rutgers to return to a winning season.

One of those returning starters is unlikely to keep their job. Former Husker Noah Vedral (6’1″ 200 lbs.) has completed 59% of his passes for 1,823 yards and seven touchdowns with seven interceptions; he is also Rutgers’ leading returning rusher with 297 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 2.9 yards per carry. In the Gator Bowl, redshirt rookie Gavin Wimsatt (6’3″ 220 lbs.) was given a lot of playing time, suggesting coaches wanted to give him some extra time. experience for 2022. His numbers in the bowl game weren’t great (7 of 16 passes for 30 yards, though he rushed four times for 39 yards. Wimsatt was a late entrant to Rutgers who in actually started last season playing two games for Owensboro High School in Kentucky instead of going through Rutgers’ preseason camp.

At running back, junior Aaron Young (5’10” 200 lbs.) and second Kyle Monangai (5’9″ 205 lbs.) will fight to take the position vacated by Isaih Pacheco, who is now with the Kansas City Chiefs. Young averaged 3.7 yards per carry while Monangai averaged 3.8. Young is still limited by an injury suffered this spring, which could give Monangai a small advantage.

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Likewise at receiver, Rutgers must replace Bo Melton who was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. Senior Shameen Jones (6’2″ 185 lbs.) has started 26 games over the past four seasons; in 2021 he caught 35 passes for 334 yards. Senior Aron Cruickshank (5’10” 170 lbs.) caught 20 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns. They add Syracuse transfer Taj Harris (6’1″ 185 pounds), who started 32 games with more than 2,000 yards in his career, and West Virginia transfer Sean Ryan (6’4″ 200 lbs.) who caught 25 passes for 399 yards and three touchdowns last season. Inbound transfers should make up for Melton’s loss … but only if the quarterback’s play improves.

Only two starters could return to the offensive line, and one of them, junior guard Reggie Sutton (6’4″ 310 lbs.) is a “long shot to come back” according to head coach Greg Schiano. was Rutgers’ top offensive lineman until he suffered a knee injury early in the season, leaving only junior center Ireland Brown (6’3” 300 lbs.) as a returning starter. Rutgers hit the transfer gate hard, luring Minnesota transfer Curtis Dunlap (6’5″ 335 lbs; 16 career starts with the Gophers), Colorado State transfer Mike Ciaffoni (6’3″ 300 lbs ; five starts last season), Louisiana-Monroe trades Willie Tyler (6’6” 325 lbs.; nine starts last season) and 1-AA All-American JD DiRenzo (6’6” 315 lbs.) from Sacred Heart This transfer group will likely be an upgrade from last year’s porous offensive line, but will likely still be one of the groups lowest rated in the Big Ten.

Rutgers fires just six starters from a defense that ranked 11th in the Big Ten in both scoring and total defense. And with just two starters returning to the top seven, it could be another tough season defensively. Junior defensive tackle Mayan Ahanotu (6’4″ 295 lbs, 18 tackles in 2021) is the only returning starter now that Mohamed Toure is out for the season after a spring injury. Sophomore defensive end Kyonte Hamilton ( 6’4″ 270 lbs) had 22 tackles last season while fellow sophomore Aaron Lewis (6’5″ 255 lbs) added 30 with 2.5 sacks.

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At linebacker, weakside second linebacker Tyreem Powell (6’5” 235 lbs.) and junior middle linebacker Deion Jennings (6’1” 225 lbs.) are going to be counted on to step up and plug the holes that the Rutgers loss ‘ the three (and probably the four) best linebackers of last season. Drew SIngleton (6’2″ 235 lbs.) is appealing to the NCAA for a waiver to play in 2022; he finished fourth in the Rutgers defense last season with 59 tackles.

The secondary returns intact to be the strength of the Rutgers defense. Senior free safety Avery Young (6’0″ 195 lbs.) leads all returning Scarlet Knights with 81 tackles last season. Young is taking advantage of the extra year of COVID eligibility to become a five-year starter for Rutgers. Junior safety Christian Izien (5’10” 200 lbs.) is a three-year-old starter who finished third in tackles last season with 75. Sophomore cornerbacks Robert Longerbeam (5’11” 170 lbs.) and Max Melton (6’0″ 190 lbs) will combine with junior cornerback Kessawn Abraham (5’10” 190 lbs); last season they combined for 28 passes defensed. Melton led Rutgers with three interceptions last season. last season.

2022 is unlikely to be the season Rutgers shakes its reputation. 2023 or 2024? It’s probably a different conversation. Phil Steele found an interesting stat: Rutgers haven’t won a home conference game since 2017. In 2018 and 2019, Rutgers went winless in the Big Ten, and in 2020 and 2021, Rutgers won games on the road to Purdue, Maryland, Illinois and Indiana. (38-3 last season!). Hopefully this string lasts until at least “Friday Night Lights” against the Huskers; the Scarlet Knights bring Indiana home two weeks later.

Survey

What happens when Nebraska returns to Jersey to face Rutgers?

  • 24%

    After upsetting Iowa at home, Rutgers extends a home winning streak to three games by defeating Nebraska.

    (15 votes)

  • 34%

    Nebraska is a bit sloppy in a short week, but still comes home with a win.

    (21 votes)

  • 40%

    These Huskers were born to run all over this Rutgers team. Nebraska is the Boss this Friday night in New Jersey.

    (25 votes)


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