2008 Position Preview: Quarterbacks

This article is part six of my preview of Rutgers football as I speculate on experience and depth for each area of the team. Mastering the quarterback position is the key to offensive success and Rutgers has amassed talent at the position which is led by veteran Mike Teel. There is reason to remain optimistic and enthusiastic not only about 2008 but about the future as well.

Mike Teel – 6’4” 225 -  rsSR  - Oakland, NJ

Rutgers will be led by veteran quarterback Mike Teel next season.  Mike is an extremely confident individual who has risen above the criticism he endured while working his way through “on the job training”.  He was awarded the starting position very early in his career and his growth has seen him progress from game manager to field general.  As he gained experience, one could see his improved composure, vision and presence at the position.   Statistically he has improved significantly from year to year.  Mike is on the verge of stardom and is the best kept secret at Rutgers.   

RU Career:

                2004 – redshirt year used running the scout team

                2005 – 9 games played,  51-101,  50.5%,  683 yds,  2tds,  10 ints

                2006 – 13 games played,  164-296,  55.4%,  2,135 yds,  12tds,  13 ints

                2007 – 12 games played,  187-324,  57.7%,  2,844 yds,  17tds,  12 ints   (while injured)

Prior to Rutgers:

2002-2003 Two time 1st team NJ All State

48th best quarterback nationally by “The Insiders.com”

23rd best player from NJ in his class by “Rivals.com”

Although he will be playing behind a partially rebuilt offensive line, he’ll have a dynamic group of wide receivers, emerging tight ends and a potentially electric running game at his command.  Mike could explode onto the scene next season, much in the manner of Matt Ryan of Boston College

Jabu Lovelace – 6’2 212 -  rsJR  - Tenafly, NJ

Jabu gained some valuable experience on the playing field during 2007, as he was called upon to relieve a banged up Mike Teel.  He is a gifted athlete with a rocket arm, quick release and has exciting skills running with the football.  Reviewing his statistics, Jabu is still a very young college quarterback and will have the spring and summer to prepare himself for the upcoming season.   


                2005 – redshirt year used running scout team

                2006 -  3 games played,  1-1,  9yds,  0 tds,  0 ints,  /   9 carries, 15 yds, 0 tds

                2007 – 10 games played,  7-23,  30.4%,  69yds,  0 tds,  0 ints /  82 carries, 380 yds, 4.6 ypc, 4 tds

Prior to Rutgers:

                2004 All State 2nd team DB

                MSG Heisman All Star

                #27 best dual threat QB nationally by “Rivals.com”

                #28 best player from New Jersey in his class by “Scout.com”

Jabu is a brilliant young man with all the tools to become an excellent college quarterback.  He needs the additional time of another year in the system.  Working with the bevy of talented receivers and running backs during the off season will provide the opportunity to improve his passing touch.  Being a year older, his poise, confidence, field vision and judgment should improve greatly.  Fans tended to be impatient with Jabu last year, but his personal experience and patience should pay off well as he matures over the next two years.

Dominic Natale – 6’2” 215 - rsSO   Warren, NJ


An enigma.  Dominic could well be a hidden gem for this Rutgers team.  He was considered one of the finest quarterback prospects in the nation following his career at the Hun School in 2004.  Originally he signed a letter of intent to play for Michigan State, but received permission to transfer home to Rutgers following his first year of eligibility.  Dominic has yet to receive any playing time since his return.

                2005 – Spent his first year at MSU (playing time/stats unknown)

                2006 – Due to NCAA rules forced to sit out his first year at Rutgers

                2007 – Injured during spring practice…  surgery to his arm performed and he did not see any action

Prior to Rutgers:

                2004 All State selection

                All Northeast selection by “Super Prep”

                All East selection by “Prepstar”

                #9  best pro style quarterback nationally by “Rivals.com”

With two years in the program sitting and rehabbing, Dominic should know the playbook inside and out.  I’ve never seen him practice, but I’ve been told that he has been impressive while gaining the attention of the coaching staff and players alike. He will have an entire year to polish up the rust that comes with time off from the game.  He may have the ability to move quickly up the depth chart.  

Chris Paul-Etienne  6’3” 208  rsSO   Edison HS, Miami Fl

Another incredibly athletic youngster with a cannon for an arm and a ton of speed on the run.  Little is known by me regarding his progress as a player.  I saw Chris line up for one play as a tailback late in the season throwing an incomplete option pass. 

                2006 – redshirt year used to run the scout team

                2007 – first year of eligibility and only 2 major injuries away from being the full time starter

Prior to Rutgers:

                #8 overall player from talent rich Dade County Florida

                Top 10 quarterback from the State of Florida

                All southeast selection by “PrepStar”

                Threw a TD pass to RU WR Tim Brown in a high school all star game

Chris has a ton of raw talent and excited the Florida natives on the Rutgers roster when he signed his letter of intent.  He’s a fearsome, gutsy performer on the practice field and simply needs more time to develop.  Chris is another multi dimensional athlete that could contribute to Rutgers as a RB, WR, CB or Safety. 

Stephen Shimko -  6’5” 210 – recruit     Ewing, NJ

Stephen has a quick and accurate release, with decent footwork despite his size. He is known to be a quality mid range passer with a nice touch on the ball.  Reportedly a smart player who reads through his progressions well, he shows poise and leadership on the field.  He impressed the Rutgers coaches at a Randolph High School combine. Stephen was also pursued by BC, UConn, NC State and Syracuse.  He must red shirt his first year.

Prior to Rutgers:

                2005 – As a HS sophomore he threw for 1,160 yds, 13 tds and 10 ints.

                2006 – As a junior he threw for 1,400 yds, 18 tds and 8 ints.  Received 2nd team all county/area honors

DC Jefferson -  6’6” 240 – recruit     Winter Haven, Fl

DC certainly has created a ton of excitement with his verbal commitment to become a Scarlet Knight.  Heavily pursued by Auburn and Tennessee while verbally committing to LSU for a period of time, DC is apparently the real deal.  Jefferson is an outstanding athlete who owns a 33” vertical leap, and a long ball arm.  He also averaged 18ppg and 10 rebounds pg as a high school basketball junior.  It’s been reported that he does have some issues with the mechanics of his throwing and his footwork and will benefit from college coaching.  He must red shirt his first year.

Prior to Rutgers:

                2006 – As a junior he passed for 1,200+ yards with 11 tds.

                #19  best quarterback nationally by “Scout.com

Rutgers will have six quarterbacks (plus any walk on candidates) in the system next season.  Veteran Mike Teel is by far the best quarterback on the team.  He is a team leader, a tireless worker,  and always looks for ways to improve his game.  Stay healthy and he will experience a breakout year that will talked about by the media.  He could be a legitimate Heisman contender.

With Teel being a known commodity, the true battle will be for the #2 spot on the depth chart.  Jabu Lovelace, Dominic Natale and Chris Paul-Etienne will have ample opportunity to strut their stuff on the practice field leading up to the 2008 kick off.  Due to his field experience alone, Jabu must be given the edge at this time, but the backup job is wide open and each candidate will be judged on a go forward basis.

Stephen Shimko and DC Jefferson will redshirt and share time  running the scout team.


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