How do I think Rutgers will play this year? Well, I’m not going to say that they’ll win the Big Ten, make the playoffs, and play for the national championship. But I will say this—the 2018 Rutgers team is going to surprise a few people.
New OC John McNulty is going to run the ball. But if you watched the spring game then you know we are going to pass the ball a lot more this year too. The question that still needs answering is who will be doing the throwing. They’ll have plenty of candidates with guys like Johnathan Lewis, Gio Rescigno, Tom Flacco (yes, Joe Flacco’s brother), and Artur Sitkowski pushing to play. My money is on Sitkowski.
Whoever it is will have a good offensive line protecting him and opening holes for the run game. Last season’s top two backs (Gus Edwards and Robert Martin) are gone, but Raheem Blackshear and Jon Hilliman are going to do just fine.
The receivers haven’t had a chance to prove how good they are before. I could see Bo Melton having a big year along with Hunter Hayek and Jerome Washington.
As for the defense—the linebackers are among the best in the conference. Trevor Morris and Deonte Roberts are tackling machines. Tyreek Maddox-Williams should make an impact early on as well. The secondary could be one of the best in the Big Ten. Isaiah Washington and Blessuan Austin give them a talented cornerback duo. With K.J. Gray and Saquan Hampton at the safeties, the secondary is set.
But the defensive line got hit hard which means some young guys are going to get an opportunity to play early on.
The team has improved under Chris Ash, and I have no doubt that they are going to be better this year than last. As for how much better? I don’t know. Being in the Big Ten, our schedule is going to be tough, but that’s what makes college football so great, anything can happen.