Rutgers Receivers Preview 2012: Who Will Emerge in the Post-Sanu Era?
There doesn't seem to be much of a question about who will be catching passes for the Scarlet Knights this season.
The team returns a talented group of veteran receivers this year, who will look to fill the vacancy left by the record-setting Mohamed Sanu.
The real question is: who is going to be throwing the passes?
Regardless of whether junior Chas Dodd or sophomore Gary Nova gets the nod at quarterback, projected starters Brandon Coleman (17 receptions, six TDs) and Mark Harrison (14 receptions, two TDs) will be the main targets. Coleman, a sophomore, and Harrison, a senior, will be joined by 5th-year senior Tim Wright (11 receptions, two TDs) and junior Quron Pratt (32 receptions, one TD) when Rutgers goes to a multiple wide receiver set.
Wright, who suffered a major knee injury two seasons ago, appears to have put the setback behind him. "I feel awesome," Wright said of his current status [reported by Tom Luicci of The Star-Ledger on NJ.com]. "I feel like I did when I had that great spring in 2010."
Jeremy Deering (4 receptions, 180 yards rushing) returns to the receiver position this year after former coach Greg Schiano's failed experiment with the junior at running back. He will also be the team's main kickoff returner in 2012.
‘‘If Jeremy has the opportunity to catch the kick, he’s going to be a weapon,’’ says new head coach Kyle Flood about Deering's special teams participation [as reported by The Star-Ledger's Dave Hutchinson on NJ.com].
Looking to step up this season is sophomore Miles Shuler, if the Knights can find playing time for him. A speedster, he will likely see game action when Rutgers goes to empty-backfield packages. Shuler and Quron Pratt will also be the backup punt returners this season.
"Miles has done a nice job," said Flood of Shuler's fall camp effort [per Tom Luicci's Star-Ledger article on NJ.com]. "We're pleased with the way he's catching the ball right now."
While freshmen on the roster will find it hard to break into the lineup on offense, Ian Thomas, Ruhann Peele, Vance Matthews, Jeffrey Gignac, John Clarke and Carlton Agudosi may make their marks on special teams.
Of particular interest is true freshman Leonte Carroo, who is a 4-star [Scout.com] recruit. It may be in the Knights' best interest to redshirt Carroo and preserve his eligibility with the receiver position so deep this season.
"He has everything you want in a receiver—fast, very physical and talented," said Carroo's former high school teammate Gary Nova, as reported by The Star-Ledger's Dave Hutchinson on NJ.com.
Rutgers also returns two 5th-year senior tight ends this season, starter D.C. Jefferson (12 receptions in 2011) and reserve Beau Bachety. Jefferson, who had a serious ankle injury last year, is hoping for a bounce-back final season to spark the interest of NFL teams.
“I’m not going to lie," admitted Jefferson during spring camp [per Tom Luicci's Star-Ledger piece on NJ.com]. "I think about it. Every day I wake up I know that’s what I want to do.”
Backing up Jefferson is junior Paul Carrezola, with juniors Malcolm Bush and Tyler Bellia competing for playing time with freshman Tyler Kroft.
“I think the ball is going to get spread around a lot,” mused Gary Nova [as reported in DailyTargum.com]. “It’s going to be an opportunity for guys that, last year, didn’t have a chance to make plays.”
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