Quarterback Competition Returns to Rutgers

The brass ring is there, and one Rutgers quarterback must seize it. The sooner the better as the Scarlet Knights prepare for year two in the resurgent Big Ten, quarterbacks Chris Laviano, Hayden Rettig and Giovanni Rescigno battle it out in spring for Gary Nova's vacated starting role.

Almost a foreign thought at Rutgers, neither Gary Nova nor Chas Dodd get a single snap at quarterback in the upcoming spring camp.

Kyle Flood enters year four at Rutgers with the most open quarterback battle of his tenure. Zero starting experience and limited on-field action belong to the competitors in what is a wide open battle in Piscataway.

Are the three competitors on even footing? Chris Laviano takes the experience edge with his small backup role last year behind Nova.

“We’ll get some of those things sorted out here as we go through the offseason, but I think, when you say even footing, I think the difference will be in experience,” Flood said. “Chris has got the advantage of having been the backup quarterback this year and going through the game plans and taking the reps in practice, playing a little bit in the games. I think that always gives you a little bit of an advantage.”

Scout four-star Hayden Rettig sat out 2014, and missed the bowl game, via NCAA transfer rules. Rettig left LSU last spring, and has not seen the field since high school.

Late 2014 addition Giovanni Rescigno sat out his first year as a red-shirt. The Warren (Mich.) De La Salle product started slow. He then came on strong during bowl practices in Flood’s eyes. Rescigno supplemented his mobility with a stronger arm and better throwing mechanics, Flood said.

“I’m excited to see what Hayden can do,” Flood said. “I’m excited to see what Gio [Rescigno] can do. … When we add another quarterback in the summer, we’ll be excited to see what he can do.”

The other quarterback, Michael Dare, joins the program in June after verbally committing out of Elmwood Park (N.J.) at the end of his sophomore year.

Flood’s comments imply that Laviano begins spring as first-team quarterback, but everyone gets a look during the 15 practices.

Last year’s battle between Nova, Laviano and Mike Bimonte lasted until August. Nova logged 28 career starts to his name prior to that position battle, putting this year’s in position to last even longer.

Competition begins in two weeks when players return for winter workouts, and heats up at the end of March in spring practice.

Rutgers is not used to smooth, so look for a length, competitive battle between Scarlet Knight quarterbacks.

“I am not sure exactly what smoothly would be to be very honest with you,” Flood said when asked about previous quarterback battles. “I think one of the things about having a competition like this is that these players, in all of the cases that you describe, I think every one of those players realized that the competition made them better. The competition brought out the best in them because they had somebody else who was pushing them every step of the way. I think that will be the case this spring.”

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