Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano released his two-deep depth chart yesterday, three days before the team's season opener. Rutgers opens the season Thursday night at Rutgers Stadium against Norfolk State.
A couple of interesting things stand out as I look through the chart. You can expect to see some freshman playing key roles. The defense is loaded. Watch for a player to play on both sides of the ball.
Four freshman appear on the two-deep for the season opener. Wide receiver Jeremy Deering, quarterback Chas Dodd, running back Jordan Thomas, and offensive guard Betim Bujari. At least three of the four will likely see the field on Thursday night.
Deering had been rumored to step into a starting role with all of the wide receiver injuries. However, Mark Harrison appears ready to go for Thursday. Deering will see plenty of action at wide out and you can expect to see him run some of Rutgers wildcat packages.
Jordan Thomas seems to be a very nice compliment to starting tailback Joe Martinek. While Martinek is a power runner, Thomas will be a change of pace type back with his speed and agility.
Bujari is currently listed as the backup at left guard behind Desmond Wynn. With the offensive line still an unknown entity, it would not be surprising to see Bujari in the game often. I expect the Rutgers staff to continuously mix and match the O-Line in the hopes of putting the puzzle together.
Of the four freshman on the two-deep, Rutgers would prefer not to use Chas Dodd. The freshman is listed as the backup quarterback, mainly by default. Rutgers is lacking depth at the quarterback position and with the injury to Steve Shimko, Dodd is really the only player left.
Coach Schiano has a tough decision to make. Does he play Dodd and get him some experience behind starter Tom Savage, or does he try to redshirt his freshman signal caller?
The defense looks to be a loaded group. There are guys listed as backups that could easily be starters on a lot of Division 1 rosters. Eric LeGrand and Justin Francis are backups on the defensive line that starts Alex Silvestro, Charlie Noonan, Scott Vallone, and Jonathan Freeny.
The secondary should definitely be a strong point for Rutgers this season. David Rowe and Brandon Bing are the starters at cornerback, with Marcus Cooper and Logan Ryan backing them up. Joe Lefeged and Khaseem Greene start at the safety spots with Duron Harmon and Patrick Kivlehan as the reserves.
You don’t see many players on the collegiate level playing both sides of the ball. Occasionally, you will see a defensive back line up wide on offense, but even that is rare. Senior Edmond Laryea will likely pull off the feat this season for the Scarlet Knights.
Laryea, the starting fullback, is also listed as a backup at linebacker. Rutgers rarely uses a fullback, but when they do, Laryea is the guy. He has the size and because of his linebacker mentality could be a big force at fullback. He is listed as the backup to Manny Abreu at strong side linebacker.
Another player that appears to see the field often is Mason Robinson. He is listed three times on the depth chart. Robinson is a backup wide receiver as well as starting kick and punt returner. Rutgers is obviously trying to get Robinson on the field as much as possible. The Somerville, New Jersey native will also see some time as the third down back if Kordell Young does not play.
For the full two-deep roster, go to Double G Sports.