2014 Recruiting Needs: Offense
Starting today with the needs on the offensive side of the ball, ScarletReport.com ranks positional needs from least to most important in the class of 2014. Note: -- With Nick Marsh coming in as a fifth-year senior, Rutgers will need to add another punter in the class of 2014. Rutgers is expected to explore options with scholarship punters, as well as walk-ons. Wide Receiver (2-3) -- Receiver is more of a top need because of the in-state options available than what is in the program itself. Rutgers brought in seven scholarship receivers (including Ian Thomas, who moved to defensive back) in the last two classes and only loses Quron Pratt this year. In-state talents like Manalapan's Saeed Blacknall, Timber Creek's Adonis Jennings and Dwight Morrow's Juwan Winfree make the position valuable for Rutgers. Tight End (1) -- Rutgers did well in addressing its needs at the position in 2013, but is still playing without a full deck because of a few off-years at the position. With Paul Carrezola leaving at the end of the year, Rutgers remains in need of position depth but not as desperately as last year with two solid 2013 additions to the roster. Offensive Line (2-3) -- Rutgers needs to bring in at least one top-level tackle after not taking one in 2013 and can benefit from more general depth at the position. The 2012 "fab five" freshman class has versatility at all five positions and is approaching the point where it will need to compete for playing time. Rutgers has multi-year starter options with young players like Keith Lumpkin, Chris Muller, Ryan Brodie and Dorian Miller but needs a general upgrade in talent for when the program joins the Big Ten. The Big Ten is known for its offensive lines and Rutgers must add high-end depth to live up to the stereotype. Quarterback (1) -- At least one capable quarterback per class is critical in recruiting, especially for a program moving into a more competitive league. Dating back to Mike Teel in 2008, Rutgers has had a different starting quarterback for five straight years in the season-opener. That is expected to change with Gary Nova this year, but the Scarlet Knights need to grab a Big-Ten level quarterback for its pro-style offense, especially after missing out on Damon Mitchell on Signing Day. Blake Rankin and Chris Laviano are valuable young talents already in the program, but the more competition the better. There are not a lot of top-level quarterbacks within the "state of Rutgers" this year, meaning Flood and his staff will yet again have to search the country for the best target. Offers are already out in Michigan, Maryland, Virginia and Minnesota and it won't stop there. Running Back (2-3) -- Palmetto's (Fla.) Josh Hicks is committed and has the potential to be an impact college player. The running back need, however, remains a top priority with little depth within the program. Projected starter Savon Huggins will be in his final season in 2014 and the players behind him have yet to show the capability of being a feature back. Going into the Big Ten, Rutgers needs multiple durable running backs and has to make a splash in the position when recruiting the class of 2014. Hicks is a great start but Rutgers also needs a great finish. Whether it is through top-tier recruit like Huggins or under-recruited prospect like Jamison or Joe Martinek, Rutgers must sign multiple backs capable of 30 carries per game in a Big Ten schedule.