Ash Era Countdown: Wildcards

The Ash Era countdown continues on Scarlet Report with a look at five wildcard players for Rutgers football in 2016. Rutgers has proven playmakers but there are plenty of players that could surprise the opposition.

5. CB Kobe Marfo – Ross Taylor-Douglas is an obvious immediate player in the Rutgers defensive secondary but do not write off Marfo. Marfo brings junior college experience, so next-level football is not new. Marfo is an Ash guy, and cornerback depth was nonexistent in spring with injuries.

4. QB Tylin Oden – Rutgers told Oden early in the process that its other quarterbacks may not fit their offensive goals. Well, Oden does. Oden needs real developmental time. A red-shirt year could be his best friend. But if Oden's skillset separates him in training camp, why not? Quarterbacks come to college more game ready in recent years. If Tom Savage, Chas Dodd and Gary Nova could all do it, why not Oden if the stars align?

3. TE Nick Arcidiacono – Arcidiacono's impact largely depends on how offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer uses tight ends in his system. With all of the three- and four-wide sets Rutgers showed in spring, there has to be a role for tight ends like Arcidiacono too. Worst-case scenario, Arcidiacono presents a mismatch against teams geared up to stop the spread.

2013 7 5 44 8.8 17 0 6.3
2014 10 1 11 11.0 11 0 1.1
2015 12 12 92 7.7 22 0 7.7
TOTAL 29 18 147 8.2 22 0 5.1

2. LB Najee Clayton – Rutgers fans saw Clayton's hitting power during the tail end of his true freshman season. Now, he's that much closer to the line of scrimmage with a mix of speed and tackling power. Is Clayton big enough to be a Big Ten linebacker? It doesn't matter. Rutgers wants a hybrid SAM. Clayton is the prototype in his first year as a starter.

1. DE Kemoko Turay – Based on the last two years of production and an inconsistent offseason to say the least, Turay is a major wildcard for the Rutgers defense. An on-form Turay could be the harbinger of a Rutgers sack attack in 2016 but questions surround him after injuries and scouting reports curtailed his progress as a sophomore. Turay is a one-percenter athletically. He can be a game-changer, but Rutgers does not necessarily need him to be productive with a veteran defensive line.

Whatever Turay brings is a plus for Rutgers. At best, Turay brings potential to be a dominant Big Ten pass rusher. At worst, his skillset makes opposing offensive coordinators lose sleep on Friday nights.

2013 0 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2014 13 15 11 26 7.5 / 59 8.5 / 62 -- -- 1 --
2015 11 8 1 9 2 / 19 3 / 21 -- 1 2 --
TOTAL 24 23 12 35 9.5 / 78 11.5 / 83 -- 1 3 --

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