5. Co-RBs Robert Martin and Josh Hicks – It remains impossible to mention one without the other in a Rutgers football conversation. Martin and Hicks will be the backbone of a new offense at Rutgers. Martin already called it a running back's dream, and Hicks likely would have said the same if made available for comment.
4. DT Darius Hamilton – Hamilton's experience, exposure and leadership bring major value to a transitional defense. If not for the lingering health concerns after a medial red-shirt, the former five-star prospect from Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep tops the list.
Hamilton is a trusted player in every aspect of the program. He will be a three-time team captain on top of it.
|2012||13||4||13||17||--||1.5 / 2||--||--||--||--|
|2013||12||20||28||48||4.5 / 29||11.5 / 46||1||1||3||--|
|2014||13||32||13||45||6 / 45||11.5 / 57||1||--||--||--|
|TOTAL||39||56||54||110||10.5 / 74||24.5 / 105||2||1||3||--|
3. DB Anthony Cioffi – In an unsettled and chaotic defensive secondary, Cioffi was a productive presence since he sacked Teddy Bridgewater in his true freshman debut. Cioffi is not without mistakes, but he is always near the ball on big plays.
Cioffi transitions to strong safety after he played corner, nickel and free safety during three years. The senior defensive back screams New Jersey, and is the closest thing to a sure starter for the Scarlet Knights' secondary.
|2013||12||25||6||31||1 / 9||4 / 19||2||1||4||--|
|2014||12||27||2||29||--||2 / 5||1||1||2||2 / -3|
|2015||11||36||9||45||1.5 / 11||3.5 / 22||--||1||3||4 / 56|
|TOTAL||35||88||17||105||2.5 / 20||9.5 / 46||3||3||9||6 / 53|
2.QB Chris Laviano – Too much experience is invested in Laviano for him to not be one of the program's most valuable players in 2016. Even if Laviano loses his grip on the starting position, a quarterback with a full season of Big Ten starting experience is invaluable. Quarterback is the highest-paid position in football for a reason.
Laviano's first starting season had bright spots – many thanks to Leonte Carroo – but he is a better fit and potentially dangerous with Drew Mehringer's power-spread system. Laviano's football communication skills make him important in a no-huddle offense. There is mobility to his game, and his arm strength concerns decrease in an offense not predicated on deep balls and long-developing routes.
1. WR Janarion Grant– Based on spring camp, Janarion Grant is the Rutgers offense. Leading the team in touches during most competitive situations, the senior Grant brings huge value as a receiver and runner this season. Players like Jawuan Harris and Dacoven Bailey are inexperienced and unproven, so unlike running back, there are not a lot of options behind the starter. Grant is greatly improved from the kid that took his first-career touch 100 yards at Fresno State. A quarterback can only be so good without dynamic receivers. Grant is the key to Laviano's success in the same way Mohamed Sanu developed Chas Dodd and Tim Brown developed Tom Savage.
Oh, and he's also an All-American candidate in the return game.
Honorable Mentions – RG Chris Muller, OC Derrick Nelson, DE Julian Pinnix-Odrick