Rutgers Football: The 5 Best Players of the Last 5 Years
As almost all Rutgers fans know, 2005 was a turnaround year for the football program. Under head coach Greg Schiano, the Scarlet Knights achieved their first winning season since 1992.
But in 2006, the college broke out into the national scene with an 11-2 record and their first ever postseason victory. Since then Rutgers has played in a bowl game in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 in the upcoming Pinstripe Bowl.
This last five years have been very prosperous for the college, and here are the best five players of the last five years:
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Making this list meant leaving some well-deserving players out. Here are some of those players:
Cornerback Devin McCourty (New England Patriots) - Class of 2010
Offensive Tackle Anthony Davis (San Francisco 49ers) - Class of 2010
Tight End Clark Harris (Houston Texans) - Class of 2007
Offensive Lineman Jeremy Zuttah (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - Class of 2008
5. Kenny Britt
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Drafted 30th overall in the 2009 NFL draft
Though Britt might be known as a solid receiver who has got into a bit of trouble both on and off the field, he was punishing force for Rutgers in 2007 and 2008.
Britt led all Big East sophomores in receiving yards (1,232 yards) and yards per reception (19.9 yards). That was in 2007 when he was also named the offensive MVP of Rutgers and nabbed a spot on the Big East's All-Conference team.
In 2008, he added to his trophy shelf gaining a spot on the first team All-Big East, third team All-American, SI All-American Honorable Mention and SN All-American Honorable Mention.
Britt ended his prolific career at Rutgers, becoming Rutgers' first ever first-round pick. I tip my scarlet and black hat to Kenny Britt.
4. Eric Foster
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(Undrafted) Signed by Colts in 2008
This man named Eric Foster absolutely bleeds scarlet and black. Foster gained national fame not only for his lights out play but also because of his inspirational locker room speech that became a staple on ESPN.
Oh, and in 2006, he had six sacks, which helped Rutgers become the fourth-best defense in Division I football.
Eric Foster was named to the first team all-Big East Conference. He was also named a first-team All-American at defensive tackle, as well as making honorable mention on the AP's team.
Foster embodied the Rutgers spirit in his tenure at the college, and my thoughts and prayers are with him after a devastating injury against the Buccaneers on October 3rd, 2011. He will miss the rest of the season, but hopefully, he will be able to play football well again.
3. Khaseem Greene
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Khaseem Greene has not yet graduated from Rutgers, and thankfully for fans, he will make an impact in the Pinstripe Bowl. This year, Greene led the Big East, ranked ninth nationally with 127 tackles.
Mind you, he still has a bowl game to play and may overtake Gary Brackett (130) on the All-Time Rutgers Tackles list.
On December 8, Greene became the first Rutgers football player to win the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award. Always humble, he thanked coach Schiano for scheming the plays he ran with such diligence.
The sheer fact that he was a monster on defense and took home Defensive Player of the Year honors lands him the No. 3 spot on this list!
2. Mohamed Sanu
A heavy fan favorite Sanu is also an electric playmaker. This year, he set both a Big East and school record for receptions this season with 109. That currently ranks fourth nationally. Sanu also had 1,144 yards and seven touchdowns to add to his marvelous season.
Sanu turned in the most productive season by a Rutgers player since Ray Rice in 2007 accounting for 45 percent of Rutgers' receptions. In a 38-26 win over Ohio, Sanu just blew up with 16 receptions for 176 yards and two touchdowns.
Sanu was awarded the Homer Hazel Trophy as the team's overall MVP and also was named the offensive MVP. He was also the first Rutgers receiver since Kenny Britt to be mentioned as an All-American player.
Sanu still has an exciting bowl game to play and has not said anything about going pro. Hopefully, he stays back in New Jersey for one more year.
1. Ray Rice
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Drafted in 2008
Was there ever any doubt? I mean really, this decision was easier then a Staples button. Ray Rice was a complete workhorse in college and an absolute stud in the NFL. It was no surprise that in his freshman year Rutgers had its first winning season in 14 years.
In his sophomore season, Rice shattered JJ Jennings' Rutgers' single-season rushing yardage record running for 1,794 yards and 20 touchdowns. That year, Rice was a finalist for the Maxwell Award and finished seventh in the Heisman chase. He led Rutgers to its first ever bowl win with a 37-10 win in the Texas Bowl.
In 2007, Rice broke program records left and right. With every run, he shattered defenses. Against Ball State, he ran for 280 yards, a new record, and four touchdowns en route to a 52-30 win. That game also including an amazing 90-yard TD run.
After those great seasons, Rice decided to conquer the NFL and has been a huge part in the Baltimore Ravens success thus far. We wish him and all these players the best in their careers moving forward!