The Facts – Rutgers received production from three primary tight ends during the 2015 season. Matt Flanagan scored three touchdowns on 11 receptions and 110 yards. Charles Scarff led the group with 14 receptions for 100 yards and one touchdown. Junior Nick Arcidiacono caught 12 passes for 92 yards. True freshman Anthony Folkerts played in the first game as a fullback but did not see the field afterwards.
What Went Right – Scarff and Flanagan are perfect examples of maximized productivity at the walk-on level. Scarff’s mix of size and speed make him a real threat in select circumstances, and Flanagan may be the smartest football player in the locker room. In a year where open receivers and pass protection were circumspect, tight ends brought steadiness to the offense.
What Went Wrong – The tight end position became too predictable. Once Rutgers clashed with bigger and faster linebackers, tight end was no longer as dangerous as it was early in the season. Rutgers went to its bootleg crutch too often.
Something to Fix – This depends on where tight ends fit in the future offensive scheme. One improvement needs to be in pass protection. When the Rutgers offensive line faces an elite defensive end (the Big Ten has a few of them), good tight end protection can be a better difference maker.
The Ash Era – The traditional tight end may not be a long-term value position in recruiting but Drew Mehringer and Chris Ash will scheme around the personnel available. Rutgers has good, young talent at the position and should use them in a way other than “slow receivers." Red-shirt freshman Nakia Griffin will be one to watch.