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Rutgers football: Potential breakout players on offense this season



Wide receiver Chris Long (9) could emerge as the top receiver this season. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Training camp for Rutgers football begins on Thursday, August 3. While it’s clear who the most indispensable players are heading into the season, there are several positions in which new contributors can emerge.

On offense, obviously the development of Gavin Wimsatt at quarterback is crucial. The running back group is arguably the deepest unit that Rutgers has. Sam Brown, Kyle Monagai and Aaron Young all have the potential to contribute in different ways this season.

The positions that are most wide open in regard to new contributors is with the offensive line, tight ends and wide receivers.

Can Tyler Needham win the starting right tackle job out of camp? Will Kobe Asamoah build off of starting the last three games of last season at left guard as a true freshman? Most importantly, if Rutgers establish a clear starting five along the line and grow as a unit throughout the season, it would be a significant development.

Tight end should utilized more under new offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca. Swiss Army knife Johnny Langan returns and I’m interested to see if he can refine his game under this coaching staff along with being healthy. Shawn Bowman has a chance to emerge as a big play threat and safety valve for Wimsatt. The development of Mike Higgins and Victor Konopka could make this position strong with solid depth. Expect more two tight end sets and this group could make real progress this fall.

Wide receiver is really wide open. I’m very high on Chris Long who caught at least one pass in 11 straight games last season. Can he build on that level of consistency to become the No. 1 receiver? Obviously, transfers JaQuae Jackson and Naseim Brantley will have a chance to play big roles in the pass game. However, if they can adjust quickly with Long emerging as a consistent playmaker, this core could certainly outperform last season’s veteran group.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. pj43

    August 2, 2023 at 3:32 pm

    “Promising” is a word used by Aaron to describe the offensive personnel.  I agree.  But, I’m also confident that the offensive coaches are & will be turning promise into productive performance.  Flaherty will find the best 5 man OL combo by opening game and depth will develop as the season progresses.  I think the same thing will happen with  Brock (WRs).  Shaw (RBs) & Aurich (TEs) are the only offensive coaches without extensive coaching experience at the positions they coach.  But, Ciarrocca will mold the offense and play calling to best utilize the talent available and he’ll adjust as the season and personnel develop .  The combo of Flaherty & Ciarrocca will establish a run offense that will allow the RBs & the RPO QB to thrive and that in turn will open up the short/intermediate passing game.  Call me overly optimistic but I see productive performance as a reality for this offense.

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