With starting experience and an offseason of recovery, Giovanni Rescigno returned to Rutgers spring camp ready to go.
In the thick of the latest quarterback competition at Rutgers, Rescigno finds himself in a different position from the past three years. As the starter from the final five games of last season, the rising junior returns to practice as the favorite for the top spot of the spring depth chart.
But as coach Chris Ash said Thursday and offensive coordinator Jerry Kill reiterated Saturday, Rescigno understands that he needs to earn it.
“I love doing that,” Rescigno said. “Coach Kill’s a new coach and we’re trying to impress him. All of us are trying to impress him, even if we played all of the games last year. So, I think even if it was (former) coach (Drew) Mehringer still, I want to prove myself.”
In seven appearances at quarterback, Rescigno threw for 889 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions on a 52.8-percent completion rate. He added two touchdowns on the ground.
Although Rescigno gained the experience before Kill came to Rutgers, the new offensive coordinator said “it’s easier for him because he’s been on the field more” than rising senior Zach Allen and rising sophomore Tylin Oden.
“I think they’re all a little bit different and so forth, but Gio runs a lot better than I thought he could run,” Kill said. “I didn’t know he ran that well, as far as speed wise. … We’re going to put the best player on the field that is the consistent guy and don’t turnover the football and moves the chains and takes command of what we’re trying to do.”
The 6-foot-3, 227-pound Rescigno returns at “100 percent” health after he sustained a hamstring injury that lingered from his first start at Minnesota.
“I thought I played pretty well (last season),” Rescigno said. “It was my first time playing. At first, it was some sort of shock playing in a game and I got hurt. That sucked for me, I don’t want to get hurt. But I thought I played pretty well, but I could have done a lot of things better. It’s fortunate I get to use that film, use those things that I’ve learned in the games that I’ve played and apply them now and apply them moving forward.”
The on-field action proved to be vital for Rescigno’s all-around development.
“Being able to play last year and start towards the end of the season really helped me now, in terms of the confidence coming out here, being comfortable with what’s going on, being comfortable, just what I’m seeing in the defense,” he said. “I got to see a lot last year. I got so much reps, so coming into spring ball, I know I have certain confidence. You have to have some sort of confidence when you’re getting reps out there. You want to relay that to the rest of the offense and that helps, especially so early on in the spring ball.”
Under Kill, Rescigno learns what he called “a mixture of both” schemes from last season to now.
“We haven’t been under center yet, but I’m sure we will,” Rescigno said. “Whatever coach (Kill) wants us to do, we’re going to do.
“(The H-Back) adds more options to us. When we pass, it gives us those options as far as in a game. I like it a lot.”
When Rutgers wraps spring camp, it could have a quarterback in the top spot on the depth chart or the competition could remain wide open ahead of the fall.
Rescigno has the experience, but he assures that won’t alter his approach.
“If you have the mindset of being complacent when doing, then I’m not going to get better,” Rescigno said. “I want to keep getting better, take advantage of my reps and obviously I have been doing and when spring ball goes forward, I’ll prove myself more, keep getting better.”