Sam Hellman / Scout

Rutgers Spring Ball: Five (or Six) Players with Something to Prove in 15 Practices

Which players have the most to prove to the Rutgers coaching staff in spring practice? Scarlet Report takes an in-depth look with one week to go until a return to the bubble.

5. Tight End Nakia Griffin – With two tight ends down and another injured, the position could become a “Griffin Show” in spring with Travis Vokolek not on campus until May. Yes, other players will get opportunities, but this is Griffin's chance to prove he can be the guy.

Griffin is athletic, and the aggressive recruitment of tight ends since Jerry Kill's takeover shows that it is an important part of the offense. Combine that with all of the positive commentary from position coach Vince Okruch about Griffin. This is Griffin's biggest shot.

4. The Mitchell Brothers – They got on the boat for different reasons but they end up at the same place. Both Damon Mitchell and Ahmir Mitchell want to be impact players on offense in their home state. Both players were freak high-school athletes but neither is proven at the college level.

The older Mitchell barely saw the field at Arkansas, but brings a mix of three different positions to a Rutgers offense hungry for playmakers. Like he told Scarlet Report on New Year's Eve, you don't score 43 touchdowns as a senior and go to college to sit on the bench.

The younger Mitchell was the second-best receiver out of the East region but did not work out with Michigan. He spent the fall as a red-shirt learning the system. Before the 2017 class arrives, Mitchell is in line for a massive spring role.

3. Left Tackle Tariq Cole – The performance, and the accolades, were nice for Cole as a first-year starter, but it is anchor time with three multi-year starters gone on the offensive line. This is Cole's fourth year, and it's time for the big man to take over alongside left guard Dorian Miller. Rutgers needs better pass protection everywhere, and Cole should face competition after development from Zack Heeman and Kamaal Seymour as well as additions of Micah Clark and Samuel Vretman.

2. Defensive End Kemoko Turay – Turay's final season means now or never for the unfulfilled potential of the athletic pass rusher. Turay played through two shoulder injuries as a sophomore. He barely saw the field in Chris Ash's first season, but a healthier Turay needs to be a part of the pass rush in 2017. Turay has NFL athleticism. The rest remains to be seen through four seasons. While Turay has just 11.5 sacks and 38 tackles in his first four years, the potential is there for a significantly greater impact.

1. Quarterback Giovanni Rescigno – Rescigno never got a real stretch of starter's reps until he won the job midway through 2016. Imagine what the mobile passer can do with 15 full developmental practices in Jerry Kill's scheme. While every quarterback deserves a fair look in a new offensive scheme, Rescigno likely gets the majority of action this spring. Johnathan Lewis represents immediate competition, but he cannot take a snap until August. Until then, Rescigno gets the first shot to win back his spot.

Scarlet Report Top Stories