Rutgers was able to further improve one of their strongest position groups when Fleming Island (Orange Park, Fla.) running back Trey Sneed committed in April. But let’s take a look at his strengths and weaknesses and find out what his addition means to the Scarlet Knights.
Projected collegiate position: Running back
Standing 5-10, 195 pounds, Sneed displays adequate size for the running back position at this point in his development. He is squatty enough to hide behind offensive linemen, yet thick enough to keep his feet on contact. He already displays adequate bulk that will only improve as he physically develops and entrenches himself in a collegiate strength and conditioning program.
And although he played wildcat quarterback the majority of the 2014 season, it’s his vision, foot quickness, and ability to finish off the run that make him special.
Sneed, a three-star recruit according to the 247Sports composite, sees the game very well and plays with good lateral quickness and anticipation. He has that jump cut, stop and start ability that is fun for fans to watch and a nightmare for defenders to prepare for.
He also excels at setting up his blocks, hiding behind bigger offensive linemen, then popping out on the other side, where he’s off to the races. His ability to get on top of the second level in a flash forces defenders to react quickly and, at times, guess wrong.
Sneed is a skilled inside runner, who doesn’t appear to gear down much in and out of his cuts. His seamless ability to stick his foot in the ground and change direction, makes him a threat each and every down.
In addition to being able to make defenders miss, he also flashes the knack to put his head down and pick up a first down as he gets good forward lean and plays behind his pads. He also shows the leg-drive and lower body strength to run through flailing arm tackles.
Areas for improvement
Sneed is really quick, instinctive and can run well, but doesn’t appear to have the top-end speed to consistently break off long touchdown scores along the perimeter. He must work on his ability to turn the corner when bouncing runs to the outside, which will allow for bigger runs against the interior size and outside speed of his collegiate counterparts.
He must also continue to add functional mass to his frame for the rigors of Big Ten football, as he can get bounced around a bit.
And missing in his junior film, due to the position he played, were examples of his hands out the backfield, which could play a role in his success as a Scarlet Knight.
Sneed will likely redshirt due to Rutgers’ depth at running back, but he’s unique enough that he could provide a change-of-pace in a limited role, once he arrives. He runs with good balance, pad level and is tough to lay a clean hit on due to his shiftiness, short area explosion and ability in the open-field.
The health of his position group could also play a part in the decision to play him right away or not. Physically, he appears ready to go, but the staff will have to weigh the pros and cons of having him burn his redshirt against the contribution they expect he’ll make.