Season 1 in the Big Ten showed us there is much promise for 2015 on the banks of the Old Raritan…
5 Things to think about for the upcoming 2015 Rutgers Football season:
1. Losing QB Gary Nova might prove more difficult than some think. Many have been relishing the day Gary Nova would no longer be the starting QB. But how easy is it to replace a QB who ranked among the Big Ten leaders in passing yards, passing touchdowns and passing efficiency? Be careful what you wish for Scarlet Knights fans. LSU transfer Hayden Rettig should be the sure candidate to take over Nova’s duties, that assuming he beats out Chris Laviano for the job.
2. RB Paul James will lead the rushing attack. Bold prediction you say, considering freshman Josh Hicks & Robert Martin combined for 302 yards in the Quick Lane Bowl. This may have caused everyone to forget how talented James really is, but if healthy, the senior-to-be will surely be there to remind us.
3. DE Kemoko Turay will top the sacks chart in the Big Ten. He finished 6th in the Big Ten with 7.5 sacks. With an expanded role to come, expect him to climb to the top of the chart. Turay was mostly a pass-rushing specialist last season. As his skill set continues to expand, he should see more field time. Turay should crack double digits in sacks next season.
4. Safety Kiy Hester will make the biggest impact of any freshman. Hester had been one of the top recruits in Rutgers’ 2014 class before his decommitment, and he looked ready to step in while spending the season on the scout team. His explosiveness could bolster a position that has been inconsistent in recent seasons.
5. WR Andre Patton will have a breakout season. The production of Leonte Carroo is a given, as the team’s leading receiver decided to return for his senior year. But Rutgers needs a reliable No. 2 option, and Patton appears ready to fill that role. He had eight catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the regular season finale win over Maryland, which displayed his ability as a smooth route runner with good hands. He had a few drops in the bowl game, but finished with three catches for 67 yards and a touchdown.If Patton stays healthy, expect him to build on the strong finish and take his game to the next level.