Moving Forward: Tight End Breakdown

After the departure of Tyler Kroft after four happy years at Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights seek his replacement at the tight end position. New offensive coordinator Ben McDaniels leads the group in what could be a significantly different look than the 2014 edition.

The Competition -- Coach Kyle Flood showed confidence in junior Nick Arcidiacono as his starter when he bestowed a spring award upon the former Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood standout. Arcidiacono is an impressive athlete and needs a full training camp at starter to put things together.

There is a solid, albeit unproven and inexperienced, stable behind Arcidiacono. Preferred walk-ons Matt Flanagan and Charles Scarff both contributed as true freshmen. With Flanagan as the blocker and Scarff as a red-zone receiver, Rutgers has a little bit of everything in what could be a rotational replacement of Kroft. Enrolled true freshman Nakia Griffin is the other name to watch. He could be close to 250 pounds by the end of training camp, and has a more complete skillset than some other options.

Storyline Central -- Tyler Kroft’s early NFL departure to the Cincinnati Bengals creates a large vacancy and major opportunities for young players at tight end. Kroft’s junior statistics – 24 catches and 269 yards – do not do him justice. He excelled as a blocker, and Rutgers has to replace that.

With a new offensive coordinator in Ben McDaniels, how does the tight end position take shape in 2015? If older brother Josh McDaniels is any stylistic indication, tight ends can expect plenty of work.

Prospect Development -- Rutgers is already overloaded with bodies at tight end. Even after Logan Lister’s return to offensive line, the Scarlet Knights have six capable players at the position. Red-shirt freshman George Behr pushed the least for playing time in spring, and could use more time in development before he pushes into the competition. Griffin and fellow freshman Anthony Folkerts can expect plenty of third- and fourth-team work early as they need to earn any playing time the hard way.

Preseason Grade -- C+ – Arcidiacono may be a good athlete, but there is no proven depth and nobody jumped in and took what Kroft left behind this spring. Tight end usage dropped under Ralph Friedgen. McDaniels showed multiple tight end looks during the spring game, however, and the position could turn into a committee role unless someone steps up.

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