Fullback Back in Style

Rutgers had one fullback enroll this week and recently accepted the commitment of one of the best in the class of 2014. Under offensive coordinator Ron Prince with a move to the Big Ten imminent, the fullback position is set for a return to prominence.

"We need to find somebody on our football team other than Michael Burton, who can play the fullback position at a high level. I think that becomes a point of emphasis for us and maybe it's somebody that's on our team and maybe it's somebody in this signing class. I'm not sure yet exactly what that will be, but certainly our running game lost a lot of consistency when Michael Burton was not able to play for us."

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood has done nothing but back up his post-season statement in the six months since losing to Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Flood flipped fullback Devan Carter the week before National Signing Day. Then Flood brought in offensive coordinator Ron Prince, whose pro-style offense puts the spotlight on success at the fullback position.

Burton, heading into his fourth year as a Scarlet Knight, is the premiere example. The former walk-on from West Morris Central (N.J.) was an impressive run blocker before Prince took over the offense. In the spring, Burton added tailback to his repertoire and was one of the most successful runners in scrimmage situations.

"I've been playing both running back and fullback, just trying to learn as much as I can of the offense," Burton said. "I want to prove to coach that I can do whatever he asks me to do. I don't want to be that one-dimensional guy. I want to be able to line up here, line up there, catch the ball, run here."

Burton put himself in line for a feature role in the offense this season, but Flood's 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes provided the spotlight for a changed outlook at the position. Traditionally a walk-on position, Flood added Carter as a scholarship fullback and recently accepted Jacob Kraut's commitment for the same role.

"I'm happy about it," Carter said about his role before enrollment. "I played running back and fullback for my school and I loved it. I'm excited to get into the plays and get better."

Kraut held other FBS offers but said Prince's pro-style scheme quickly sold him on Rutgers.

"Some schools aren't even recruiting fullbacks or using them at all," Kraut said. "At some places, I might see three or four plays a game. With these guys, they actually believe in the position and believe in me as one. The biggest thing is that I have a long way to go from home, but as soon as you get there, all of the players treat you like family. They're there for you right away."

Add converted linebacker Sam Bergen to the mix and Rutgers could have as many as four scholarship fullbacks on the 2014 roster – a change in philosophy.

Scarlet Report Top Stories