Commentary: Mid-season Superlatives

Believe it or not, No. 17/19 Rutgers is halfway through its 2012 football season. At the midway point of the year, takes a step back to reflect on the biggest contributors to the 6-0 start for coach Kyle Flood in his inaugural season with midseason awards.

Defensive Player of the Year

Outside linebacker Khaseem Greene -- Greene is on his way to another Big East Defensive Player of the Year honor. Highlighted by his 14-tackle, three forced fumble game against Syracuse, Greene is every bit as dangerous as he was for Rutgers last year.

He could climb as high as third in school history in tackles this year and is the anchor and emotional leader of the most aggressive defense in the conference.

Greene has 63 tackles, 3.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two picks in the first half of the year.

Offensive Player of the Year

Running back Jawan Jamison -- The biggest difference between this Rutgers team and those of the last few years is the ability to lock it up with the lead. That is only possible with a workhorse back like Jamison.

Jamison is on pace to be the first 1,000-yard rusher at Rutgers since Ray Rice and has 100 yards in all but one game this season. Lack of a traditional run game hurt Rutgers the last three years, but it is not an issue when Jamison is on his game. Through six games, he has 665 yards, three touchdowns and 4.2 yards per carry.

Honorable Mentions -- WR Brandon Coleman, QB Gary Nova

Team MVP

Outside linebacker Khaseem Greene --The numbers speak for themselves, but what sets Greene apart from other contenders is the leadership factor. Greene did not have to come back this season and he did not have to work as hard as he did to keep spirits up after Greg Schiano's departure.

Greene is an emotional leader of a mature Rutgers program. And maturity, according to head coach Kyle Flood, is what has allowed the Scarlet Knights to get to 6-0 without losing focus. A 6-0 record is uncharted territory for everyone on the roster, but leaders like Greene have kept the focus where it needs to be.

Freshman of the Year

Tight end Tyler Kroft -- Part of being a veteran team is a lack of freshmen on the field, but Kroft is slowly developing into a multidimensional weapon for Rutgers. His value sky-rocketed with the injury to Michael Burton and position change of Paul Carrezola.

Kroft is a greatly improved blocker and he averages 19.7 yards per catch since emerging as a member of the two-deep and will continue to grow as a legitimate receiving threat for quarterback Gary Nova.

Most Improved Player

Quarterback Gary Nova -- In his six games since re-earning the starting job, Nova has gone from turnover machine to game-manager and more. Nova has not recorded a turnover in four straight games and has 11 touchdowns on the season.

Honorable Mentions -- RB Jawan Jamison, LG Antwan Lowery, TE Paul Carrezola

The five-touchdown performance against Arkansas was the best statistical performance by a Rutgers quarterback since Mike Teel against Louisville in 2008. Nova's transformation is nowhere near complete, but he is not a liability and, for the first time in four years, crushed any thoughts of a quarterback controversy in Piscataway.

Incoming Commit Rutgers Could Use This Season

Sayreville/Milford Academy ATH Delon Stephenson -- Rutgers is thinnest at running back and defensive back and Stephenson could provide depth at either spot. In addition to his value as a special teams player, the general athleticism of Stephenson could find him early playing time.

Honorable Mention -- ATH Nadir Barnwell

Assistant Coach of the Year

Offensive coordinator Dave Brock -- The Rutgers offense is dramatically improved from last season under the watch of Brock. Rutgers has a strong traditional run game and does not need to rely on gimmicks to keep sack numbers down.

Under Brock's play-calling, Rutgers is returning to a true pro-style offense and every level of the offense is improved. The line gives up a sack every other game, Nova is twice the quarterback he was as a true freshman and Brandon Coleman is emerging as one of the best receivers on the East Coast. The offense has not been consistently productive, but embarrassing issues like sack numbers, low yards per carry and turnovers are expunged from the offense since Brock took over.

Play of the Year

Mark Harrison's 60-yard Touchdown against Arkansas -- Rutgers was very close to another one of those heart-breaking losses in a big situation. With last year's West Virginia game fresh in everyone's mind, the Scarlet Knights nearly blew a two-touchdown lead against the Razorbacks until Nova and Harrison connected for the play of the year.

Leading by just two after a stopped extra point, Nova and Harrison hooked on the next play from scrimmage to cement the victory.

Honorable Mentions -- Jawan Jamison's spin move against South Florida, Jeremy Deering's first down on a punt fake, Jamal Merrell's field goal block leads to 75-yard touchdown for Duron Harmon against Syracuse.

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