Post Spring Analysis: Stock Up

With the spring practice campaign at Rutgers wrapped up, ScarletReport.com is here to break down the lessons learned heading into training camp. During spring practice, five developing players raised their stock to the point where they can push for playing time this season.

Spring practices are most crucial for the young guns looking to earn playing time. Between injuries and veterans that do not need the reps, younger players step into the spotlight and shine every spring.

Though they may not be ready for game action, five Scarlet Knights outperformed expectations this spring and put themselves in better standing heading to training camp.

5.) Wide receiver Miles Shuler — After going without a reception his true freshman year, there were questions about Shuler as a receiver and thoughts that he may be best suited elsewhere.

In the spring, under offensive coordinator Dave Brock, Shuler took steps forward in proving he can be a wide receiver at the college level. Coach Kyle Flood mentioned Shuler multiple times as a young player standing out. He needs to develop consistency in his routes and improve his hands, but with Shuler's blazing speed, he showed he can be a future weapon for the Scarlet Knights.

4.) Defensive end Max Issaka —Issaka took advantage of injury concerns with Michael Larrow and David Milewski to eat up reps at defensive end this spring. The Woodbridge (N.J.) product worked with the first team through nearly half of camp and frequently drew praise from Flood for his hard work.

Flood added that Issaka is not yet ready for game action, but gives the team a nice boost at a questionable position. And if Issaka can continue his spring development through training camp, look for him to get a shot at playing time.

3.) Outside linebacker Quentin Gause — Another player that found work with injuries to starters, Gause made the most of it through the spring. The redshirt freshman from Rochester, N.Y., led the team in tackles in the three scrimmages and made a series of impact plays including a fumble recovery and half of a blocked punt.

Gause has his work cut out for him once Khaseem Greene and Jamal Merrell get healthy, but he showed Flood that he can be relatively successful within the scheme of the defense once he gets more experience.

2.) Guard Antwan Lowery — There is no way around it — Lowery disappeared last season. From a huge defensive tackle to a starting guard, the Florida big man consistently saw his playing time decrease as other linemen like Betim Bujari, Desmond Wynn and Art Forst outworked him.

In a make or break spring for Lowery, he showed Flood and new offensive line coach Damian Wroblewski that he should not be written off. Lowery impressed in the spring and received a strong percentage of first-team work after Bujari's injury. When the line heals up, Lowery may see his workload decrease, but he played himself back into the two-deep with a surprising spring.

1.) Guard/Center Matt McBride — Get stronger. That is all McBride heard after transferring from Hofstra to Rutgers when the program closed.

Two years later, McBride is stronger and a legitimate contender for the starting center position. Before an elbow injury ended his spring, McBride surpassed Dallas Hendrikson as the first-team center. He still needs to improve strength and toughness, but McBride will be a story to watch this summer.


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