The Scarlet Knights will look to bring in as much size, speed and talent as possible in 2015 to be competitive in the infancy of their Big Ten membership. Starting with the offensive side of the ball, ScarletReport.com looks position by position at class needs.
Quarterback (1) -- Rutgers has its quarterback commitment in Elmwood Park (N.J.) three-star Michael Dare. Rutgers does not need to bring in a second quarterback, especially after adding both Phillip Nelson and Giovanni Rescigno this season. Rutgers still needs to explore the position, however, after seeing how the Tyler Wiegers situation played out in 2014. Rutgers has an interesting group of young quarterbacks and does not need two in the class. If an athlete comes along that could have a chance to play quarterback or elsewhere, that is another story similar to Devin Fuller or Damon Mitchell.
Running Back (2-3) -- Saquon Barkley of White Hall (Pa.) is one of the best in the region as a four-star running back and the earliest public commitment to Rutgers in program history. Barkley remains committed to Rutgers, but will continue to explore other options and take visits. For that reason, Rutgers needs to be aggressive in finding more running back options. Josh Hicks, Robert Martin, and Justin Goodwin project well for the future of the position. Everyone familiar with Rutgers, however, knows that three running backs will not be enough. Desmon Peoples remains in the mix with young backs, and Paul James will be a fifth-year senior in 2015.
Priority No. 1 is the keep Barkley solid. After that, there are interesting local names to watch at running back. South Brunswick's Dontae Strickland projects as a running back for now, but could play defense. Qadree Henderson out of Wilmington (Del.) Dupont and Nas Bonner from Imhotep in Philadelphia already have offers. Some other names to watch in the region are Jonathan Forrest from Ray Rice country in New Rochelle (N.Y.), Glassboro's Ronnie James, who is the younger brother of the Rutgers starter and Juwan Dolbrice of Linden (N.J.). James could be a safety or running back, and already holds a Pittsburgh offer. Dolbrice camped at Rutgers last year and comes from the same program as Ruhann Peele. Look for Rutgers to yet again explore options in Florida at the position.
Fullback (0) -- With Jacob Kraut, a top five fullback in 2014, on board for the next four or five years, a scholarship fullback is not a priority. Michael Burton is gone at the end of the season, but Rutgers has a solid walk-on in Kevin Marquez if Kraut is not ready.
Offensive Line (3-5) -- Building depth is always a necessity on the offensive line, especially when there is a strong level of local talent at the position – Grant Newsom, Ryan Bates, Steven Gonzalez, Patrick Allen, Sam Madden, Tommy Hatton and more.
Rutgers was in early on all of the above offensive linemen and now has work to do as they rise in prominence. One emphasis in the class should be the search for interior linemen. Three of the four brought in by Rutgers in 2014 are tackles, and the Scarlet Knights will have just one scholarship center on the roster after this season barring a position change.
Kaleb Johnson returned for his senior season, and is the only significant loss facing the Rutgers offensive line after the 2014 season. Rutgers should have above average offensive line depth on the outside. There are concerns at guard and center behind the established starters. Those concerns need to be addressed in this recruiting class.
Wide Receiver (3-5) -- It's time to reload. Finding talented wide receivers is not as challenging as other positions, and Rutgers needs a talent infusion after getting shut out in 2014. Four wide receivers de-committed from Rutgers, making position changes and walk-ons the only new faces at the position this year. Recruiting the position in the class of 2015 should be significantly easier with Ben McDaniels on as a full-time position coach and Ralph Friedgen as the new play-caller. Rutgers needs variety and numbers at receiver, especially with the chance that Leonte Carroo breaks out as a junior and explores the NFL waters.
The good news is that Rutgers has no senior receivers on the 2014 roster. There will be time for 2015s to develop. Glassboro's Juwan Johnson, Haddonfield (N.J.) Paul VI's Irvin Charles and Paramus Catholic's Najee Clayton have all blown up since the end of the season with natural interest. Rutgers was in early with all three, and landing one of them should be a top priority.
Rutgers is in solid standing with Union City's Daiquan Kelly, Sayreville's Myles Hartsfield and Weequahic's Al-Khadair Ports. All three project as defensive backs, but could develop into receivers. Look for Rutgers to hit Florida hard at the receiver position to find the next Janarion Grant or Jeremy Deering.
Tight End (1) -- Rutgers is still in the identifying stage with many at the position. It is not a must to bring in a tight end after signing four in the last two years. But Tyler Kroft's days are numbered in a Rutgers uniform. A receiving threat at the position would be a boost to the class.