Kickoff Primer: What to Watch

Before heading over to Rutgers Stadium to tailgate or kickin' up the recliner to watch Saturday's Rutgers game against Tulane, make sure you know what to be looking for. ScarletReport.com has the impact players, who has the most to prove, what players are in "building" mode and much more.

Rutgers is coming off a disappointing four-point loss in which the offense continued to struggle, and is looking to finally right things on homecoming today against Tulane.

Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m., and before heading out to tailgate, to gather with friends and kick back on your favorite chair with your warm snuggie, check out ScarletReport.com's kickoff primer.

Who will make the biggest impact, who has the most to prove and who is the player to watch? Well, we've done our best to identify those things, and offer a few other fun tidbits.

Impact players
1. WR Mohamed SanuHe 16 catches if more than three times anyone else on the team, and104 yards rushing is second. He is also 2-for-2 throwing the ball.
2. TE D.C. JeffersonCoach Greg Schiano mentioned during the week Rutgers needs to find ways to get the 6-foot-6, 258-pound Jefferson the ball, and he could be dominant if the Scarlet Knights can get him more involved.
Joe Lefeged
3. SS Joe Lefeged – He's a big hitter on defense, supports the run and showed his big-hitting ability against UNC in the passing game. He also returns kicks and blocks punts, so he can change games in a number of ways.
4. RB Jordan ThomasLook for Rutgers to continue to get the ball in his hands to use his speed on the edge, and he also could get some carries through the middle.
5. LB Antonio LoweryThe senior is having a tremendous season with a team-leading 23 tackles, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. He is moving well and quickly, and hitting hard.

Who has the most to prove?
1. QB Tom SavageFor the second straight week the sophomore occupies the top spot in this category, and he has even more to prove this time after his two-interception performance against the Tar Heels.
2. RT Art ForstThere is a reason Schiano said he expects Devon Watkis to play as the Scarlet Knights are set to rotation six players on the offensive line. Forst's starting position could be in jeopardy if he does not play well.
Mark Harrison
3. WR Mark Harrison – He made two catches against Florida International, but didn't have any against UNC has he continues to struggle with consistency.
4. CB Brandon BingHe missed a few tackles and had a crucial pass interference call on a 5-yard route on a third-and-long play, which cannot happen, especially for a senior. His coverage is good, but his game must improve in other areas.
5. DE Jonathan FreenyHe is Rutgers' top sack threat, but he has ½ sack in three games and isn't getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback.

Looking to build
1. WR J.T. Tartacoff – The freshman made his debut last week and caught a fourth-quarter pass for a first down. He is in shape after a knee injury and is ready to become more involved in the passing game.
2. RG Antwan LoweryIt wasn't a spectacular starting debut, but he showed his explosive ability to block and didn't get whistled for any penalties. Better blitz recognition will go a long way.
Logan Ryan
3. CB Logan Ryan – The reserve has done very well in Rutgers' nickel package, and you can see his confidence grow in coming up in run support.
4. RB – Joe MartinekHe makes the list because he is still dealing with a sore ankle and is coming off a five carry game. If his ankle is healthy, he can carry much more and help control a game's tempo.
5. DT Eric LeGrandHe played plenty in first-down against UNC, taking time from Charlie Noonan, but he only registered an assisted tackle despite being involved in many plays.

Poised for a breakout
Devon Watkis
OT Devon Watkis – Schiano talked about the need to play Watkis, so keep an eye on No. 71 as he plays right tackle and/or left tackle. The 6-foot-7, 310-pounder was pushing for playing time before he injured his ankle last month, but has returned and is earning praise for his efforts.
One thing to really like is Watkis' feet, which allows him to get out quick and push pass rushers beyond the pocket.

Freshman worth watching
Jeremy Deering
WR Jeremy DeeringHe only had one catch last week for seven yards, but he was much more active in the offense. He was open for a touchdown in the third quarter but had the ball throw behind him and in the fourth quarter was open on a slant near the goal line but had the ball throw well behind him.
He may not be getting a lot of receptions, but he definitely was more noticeable against UNC after not showing a lot in the first two games.


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