Ben Solomon / Rutgers Athletics @bensolomonphoto

Andre Patton on Replacing Leong Carroo: Everyone's Getting a Shot

CHICAGO -- How does Rutgers replace its most productive wide receiver in school history? Senior Andre Patton offers his take on the experienced group that remains with the Scarlet Knights.

Replacing a two-time offensive MVP and three-year starter at wide receiver is never easy, but that’s the new reality for Rutgers in life without Leonte Carroo.

It would be delusional to think that just one player could step right in and replace the production of the Scarlet Knights’ all-time receiving touchdowns leader, which is why the new spread offense comes at the right time for Andre Patton and the returning receiving corps.

“I would say probably the big difference is everyone’s getting a shot,” Patton said. “Everyone’s touching the ball. Everyone’s having the opportunity to, to make plays.”

Outside of the likely candidates in senior wide outs Carlton Agudosi, Vance Matthews and Janarion Grant, Patton feels as if redshirt junior John Tsimis could become a key contributor.

“I see that John’s gonna make a big difference to our offense,” Patton said of Tsimis, who missed 10 games last year with a lower body injury. “He’s gonna contribute a lot to making big plays and doing a lot of big things for our offense and if we keep him healthy then he’s gonna be a big asset to our offense.”

As much of a focal point the new-look wide receiver rotation and corresponding offensive scheme is, it’s just the tip of the iceberg for a Rutgers football program undergoing a complete overhaul this offseason under head coach Chris Ash.

Patton and the majority of his teammates are still standing as September approaches. But as transfers and roster changes unfolded, the shakeups have shown that it isn’t for everyone.

“It’s more mental,” Patton said, referring to the grueling offseason regimen led by new strength and conditioning coach Kenny Parker. “If you don’t have that mentality to attack everything at 110 percent, then you won’t make it. A lot of people didn’t make it. There was people here and some people didn’t make it through.”

With training camp around the corner and a long season ahead, the Scarlet Knights still have a long way to go. But with Ash leading the way, Patton sees a difference.

“I like that he brought structure — structure to the team,” Patton said. “There’s one standard, and he holds that standard very high — really high. So, it’s either you’re on board or you’re out. I think that’s something that we needed. And myself and the rest of my teammates, we bought in, so I think that’s a good thing.”

2013 11 3 49 16.3 27 1 4.5
2014 9 20 223 11.2 34 3 24.8
2015 12 34 432 12.7 38 1 36.0
TOTAL 32 57 704 12.4 38 5 22.0

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