Sam Hellman / Scarlet Report

Rutgers Scrimmage Report: Eye on Offensive Line Depth

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Offensive line coach AJ Blazek spoke with the media after the fifth practice and first full-contact scrimmage for Rutgers. How does the depth of the unit shape up right now?

The Headline – After two years where Derrick Nelson was a constant at center, Rutgers looks to replace his 23 starts and captain leadership.

Right now, rising sophomore Jonah Jackson projects as the next man up.

Offensive line coach AJ Blazek said he believes the 6-foot-4, 299-pounder can win the job by the end of the spring.

“Jonah’s doing a great job right now,” Blazek said. “Good leader. … So that’s what he brings, he brings a little leadership, too.”

Blazek said Jackson learned plenty as Nelson’s understudy at center.

“For him, it’s not like, hey, it’s a major change,” Blazek said. “… Jonah’s done a great job. He had a great offseason to set the table, so there’s not a lot of transition. That’s the biggest.”

Worth Noting – While Jamaal Beaty returns from an injury, Micah Clark and Samuel Vretman continue to compete for early playing time.

“Those three guys, they’re playing fast,” Blazek said of the early-enrollee freshmen. “They’re not hesitant, their football IQ is there, it’s just a matter of learning the speed of the game right now for those guys.”

Quote of the Day – “His first five practices, just his detail, footwork and hand placement — he’s been off the charts. He’s playing as good as anybody has since I’ve been here, so he’s playing really good at guard right now.” -- Blazek on senior guard Dorian Miller.

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