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Five Most Indispensable Players For Rutgers Football



Oct 7, 2022; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Max Melton (16) intercepts a pass intended for Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver Oliver Martin (89) during the first half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers football begins training camp on Thursday, August 3. While there are many questions that need to be answered and plenty of development that must occur, there are many key contributors returning. Among them, there are several players who will play a major role in how this team ultimately performs.

Here is a list of the five most indispensable players for Rutgers his season. If the Scarlet Knights are going to make real progress this season and go bowling, these five players must perform well and stay on the field this fall.

No. 5 Max Melton

Melton is the top corner for Rutgers and seems poised to have his best season yet. He’s had flashes of greatness but hasn’t been able to sustain it over the course of a full season. If Melton can win most of his battles against the opposing No. 1 receiver, it will help the Rutgers defense take another step forward this fall. There is depth at corner for RU, but Melton is the most talented. His ability to impact special teams is key is well. Last season, he led the nation with three blocked kicks and has a knack for making plays.

No. 4 Aaron Lewis

Lewis is arguably the best player on the team and the anchor for what could end up being a very good defensive line for Rutgers. Pro Football Focus named him a Preseason First Team All-Big Ten selection because of his consistency as a disruptor with both the pass and run. He drew more and more attention as last season wore on. With what appears to be a deeper unit this season that includes Ole Miss transfer Isaiah Iton, Lewis can make a big impact in opening up opportunities for his teammates aside from his own production. The only reason he isn’t higher on this list is due to the talent around him on the defensive line. Any missed time would hurt, but not as fatal as it would be at some other positions.

No. 3 Gavin Wimsatt

As much as Wimsatt needs to develop this season, being patient is crucial. Improving his accuracy and decision making are the keys. Kirk Ciarrocca should help Wimsatt’s confidence and thought process on the field. His ability to make plays on the run sets him apart and could add another dynamic to the Rutgers offense if utilized effectively. The offense has to be better this season and Wimsatt’s ability to make significant strides under Ciarrocca is key to it all. The stability of Ciarrocca, more usage of the tight ends and short passes should help. Wimsatt isn’t going to be asked to win games with his arm. He’ll be more of a game manager but will still coming through in key spots will be critical. Of course, the run game is essential for the offense to be improved this season, which is why Wimsatt is behind two other players on that side of the ball.

No. 2 Hollin Pierce

The two year starter is the most reliable offensive lineman for Rutgers. The former walk-on is set to move to left tackle after 24 straight starts at right tackle. Protecting the quarterback’s blind side is a major priority and it’s the right move to trust Pierce with the responsibility. Also creating a patch for the run game is hugely important for the offense as well. His adjustment on the left side of the line while also emerging as a leader for the unit is critical. He has a lot on his plate but I think Pierce is ready to handle the heavy load. If he can’t step up or misses any time, the potential progress of the offensive line will likely be halted or worse, major regression could occur. That would spell disaster for the offense overall.

No. 1 Sam Brown

I believe in Brown being the biggest difference maker for the entire team overall I did an entire podcast on that point. We saw what happened to the Rutgers offense after his season ending injury last October, it disappeared. Brown’s potential and workhorse ability can bring balance to the offense, take pressure off Wimsatt, open up the passing game off of play action, while also helping to sustain drives and reduce wear and tear on the defense long term. His health is so important I would be happy if Greg Schiano had him in a personal bubble the entire training camp. In my opinion, no one on the Rutgers roster is more important to this team being able to have a successful season than RB No. 1.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. DranktheRUkoolaid

    August 1, 2023 at 2:57 pm

    Wow, really going all in on Sam Brown!

    He is important but if he goes down (or is ineffective) there is reliable depth behind him.

    Lose one of the other guys and RU gets really thin at those positions, really fast.

    For that reason, and because the offensive line really struggled, and lacks proven playmakers, I would put Pierce first.

    I am also concerned about the lack of experienced kickers (McAtamney was just OK last year; and there is new punter following a great one so there will be a drop off).

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