Rutgers Football: 5 Unknown Knights Who Will Break out in 2012
We're slowly getting closer to the start of the college football season (key word is "slowly"). While the NHL and NBA wind down their seasons and the MLB sets its season on cruise control, lost in the shuffle is the end of spring practice and the beginning of summer workouts for NCAA football players.
Down in Piscataway, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights set out to improve on last year's solid 9-4 season, which was capped off by a victory over Iowa State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
However, this has not been an ordinary offseason already. Rutgers has already had to replace its 11-year head coach, Greg Schiano. His successor, Kyle Flood, will be charged with improving a team that not only lost its head coach, but also several key players, including receiver Mohamed Sanu, who led the team in receptions and receiving yards last year and it wasn't even really close.
However, these are the names of a few young players who could see drastic increases in their playing time and, as a result, increases in their production during the 2012 season.
Savon Huggins may not necessarily be unknown, but due to injuries and the emergence of Jawan Jamison, he played only a small role in the offense last season. He tallied only 146 rushing yards on 56 carries.
However, he did score five touchdowns. Huggins was a highly touted recruit who was supposed to be the running back of the future. While he hasn't lived up to that moniker quite yet, look for the Scarlet Knights and new offensive coordinator Greg Brock to increase Huggins' touches.
Brock uses a pro-style offense, so look for him to use Brock as possibly a third-down and short-yardage back to spell Jamison.
Tim Wright is another player who is not necessarily unknown but will be given the opportunity to thrive with Mohamed Sanu gone. Wright falls into a similar category as Huggins, his injuries having slowed his career with the Scarlet Knights.
I don't think the Scarlet Knights will be looking for one player to assume Sanu's role in the offense. They will probably employ more of a Moneyball tactic and look to spread his production over a few players.
Wright has an excellent opportunity to be one of them. He only caught 11 passes for 147 yards last season, but he only played in six games. If he can stay healthy, look for those statistics to increase drastically.
R.J. Dill is unknown to Rutgers fans, but that's because he transferred from Maryland for the upcoming season.
He already has his undergraduate degree so he can start play right away. Look for him to become one of the anchors on the offensive line for the Knights and one of the key protectors of...whomever the quarterback ends up being.
If you don't know the name Darius Hamilton yet, you will soon.
Hamilton was the star recruit of the class of 2012. He's a powerful defensive lineman who new defensive coordinator Robb Smith is looking to for an immediate impact on the defense.
He was a 5-star recruit and USA Today All-Americaa and Rivals.com National Defensive Player of the Year. Look for Hamilton to wreak havoc on the defensive line this year.
Another incoming freshman, but this time at wideout, Leonte Carroo was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school and is someone Brock will be looking to to shoulder some of the load in trying to replace Sanu.
He's a big, strong physical receiver (6'2", 200 lbs.) who could pose a lot of problems for opposing defenses. He doesn't have breakaway speed and isn't the most elusive guy after the catch, but he should be able to contribute right away.