Between the class of 2014 and some interesting transfers, Rutgers has a group of newcomers with a chance to make an early impact on the year ahead for coach Kyle Flood and the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers used 10 of its true freshmen last season but just three the year before. Newcomers in a new conference will be needed for Rutgers to compete, and we look at the top five.
5. Quarterback Hayden Rettig -- No, Rettig is not eligible to play this season. His impact will, however, be felt. Rettig’s name is already coming up with recruits in discussing the Scarlet Knights, and the former four-star quarterback gives Rutgers a great scout team look every week. Rettig has experience in the SEC film rooms, and will do what he can to prepare a young defensive secondary for quarterbacks like Christian Hackenberg and Braxton Miller. Adding Rettig to the meeting room with Gary Nova, offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen and graduate assistant Mike Teel is a plus.
4. Running back Josh Hicks -- Hicks has a chance to play, but it all depends on how things play out over the next four months. More seasoned than the average freshman after year-round football in Florida, Hicks plans to push Paul James and Savon Huggins immediately for playing time. The four tailbacks ahead of him all have some level injury concern, and Hicks will get the opportunity to win a role in the offense.
3. Long snapper Alan Lucy -- The more Lucy goes unnoticed and under the radar, the better. The best long snappers are the ones that never come under the spotlight. It means they haven’t screwed up. How often did Rob Jones come up for Rutgers over the last four years? Lucy enters training camp as the expected starter at long snapper after earning a scholarship offer in the final weeks before National Signing Day. He could see the field more than any other true freshman this year, and his role is more important than many are willing to admit.
2. Wide receiver Andrew Turzilli -- A career 27 catches for 491 yards at Kansas does not sound like a lot. Adding Turzilli as a graduate transfer gives Rutgers a veteran presence at receiver, and a body that can both block and make plays in the possession game. Turzilli has to seriously impress in training camp to pass guys like Ruhann Peele, Andre Patton and Janarion Grant, but there is room for five or six guys at receiver right now.
1. Cornerback Dre Boggs -- Adding Turzilli makes it even easier to keep Boggs on defense, where he is most needed after a second abrupt departure by Ian Thomas. Boggs is going to have an impact this season, and is likely turning heads already when it comes to summer workouts in the Piscataway heat. Boggs is a year older than most freshmen after a prep year. Cornerback remains thin, and inexperienced, and there is a place for Boggs on the 2014 roster. Boggs is raw but athletic at corner. He can also have a special teams impact, and do not rule out looks at wide receiver.