A renowned offensive coordinator, an experienced offensive line and a senior quarterback are all reasons to get excited for a young group of Rutgers wide receivers. The Scarlet Knights are down two key contributors from last season in Brandon Coleman and Quron Pratt. Head coach Kyle Flood did not sign any receivers in his 2014 class, so the focus will be on older talents stepping up in training camp.
Junior Leonte Carroo was the best receiver on the Rutgers roster last season, and should be even better after recovering from late season injuries. Carroo was Mr. Fourth Quarter for Rutgers with game winning touchdowns against SMU, Temple and Arkansas. Carroo and quarterback Gary Nova have been partners in crime since their high school days. He broke out as a sophomore, and is in position to follow Mohamed Sanu as the next 1,000-yard receiver at Rutgers.
Playing time behind Carroo is up for grabs with Pratt and Coleman gone from last year’s rotation. Sophomores Andre Patton and Carlton Agudosi got early looks in spring practice, and fifth-year addition Andrew Turzilli is an instant competitor for a spot on the two-deep. Turzilli joins the program after graduation early from Kansas, and brings multiple seasons of Big 12 playing experience.
Sophomores Ruhann Peele and Janarion Grant are also locks for playing time, but their roles are undetermined. Peele missed most of spring with injuries after a split freshman year at receiver and cornerback. Peele is the second most productive receiver returning to the roster after 28 receptions, 281 yards and a touchdown last year. Grant won the most improved offensive player of spring. He remains inexperienced on the line of scrimmage, which is a key for coordinator Ralph Friedgen in using him the right way.
The steady John Tsimis played sparingly as a true freshman. He was known as a sure-handed playmaker out of Bergen Catholic, and can have the same role for Rutgers with more developmental time. Rutgers has a pair of intriguing walk-ons at receiver in Vance Matthews and Ntwademela Perry. Matthews is close to playing time with two seasons of development, but the South African Perry needs more time in the program after enrolling as a 17-year old this spring.
Rutgers has depth at wide receiver, but needs to add more bodies in the 2015 and 2016 classes. Carroo is the highlight at wide receiver, and has high expectations from both the staff and outsiders. The challenge for Rutgers at receiver is similar to what the quarterback position faces – consistency. Peele, Patton and Agudosi all have the potential to be playmakers, but consistent technique and hands need to emerge in training camp.