Today marked Rutgers annual summer media day, which kicked off with head coach Chris Ash providing a rundown of his team. Here is a closer look at the latest news from Piscataway.
Starting QB coming soon
The quarterback battle between Kyle Bolin, Gio Rescigno and Johnathan Lewis is approaching an end and after Saturday’s scrimmage, Bolin still appears to be the odds-on favorite to start.
“We're getting closer to naming a quarterback. We've got three weeks to go before we play, and we'd like to do it sooner than later,” Ash said. “We'll probably get through this week, keep sorting it out a little bit, and then get ready by the end of this week, first of next week, to go ahead and name a starting quarterback.”
Freshmen on the field
There are going to be a lot of freshmen playing this season for Rutgers and Ash named a few who have caught his eye through the first two weeks of camp.
“Raheem Blackshear at running back has really stood out. He's going to be a guy that's going play for us. Bo Melton has stood out. Really all those wide receivers that we signed last year have stood out: Bo Melton, the Hayek brothers have both stood out, Shameen Jones, Everett Wormley. All those guys, really, are going to have a chance to compete for playing time on offense and on special teams here this fall.”
Fans can also expect to see a freshman tight end on the field at some point this season.
“Travis Vokolek at tight end is going to be an outstanding tight end. He's got great length,” Ash said. “He can run. Just got to get bigger and stronger, but really like his football IQ and just the way he works every single day.”
Ash also singled out right tackle Micah Clark and linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi. Look for one-on-one articles on each of those players over the next day or so on Scarlet Nation.
Breakout summer for Bateky
Junior defensive lineman Jon Bateky has been making noise this summer and may be the breakout performer through the month of August.
“Jon Bateky is playing at a very high level. I think Jon Bateky is a very underrated player that think [we are] going to expect to see big things out of this year,” Ash said.
Captain vote looming
This year’s captains have not yet been named and Ash talked a bit about that process and when it will occur.
“We'd like to have four. But we could go up, as many as six, if we needed to. But we will have a player vote on captains this Wednesday. And that will be really about the midpoint of training camp and we will have a pretty good idea of who we can count on, who the players trust and who is dependable and who can be our best leaders. And we'll vote on that. It will be a player vote that's done on Wednesday night.”
Senior wide receiver Janarion Grant will make his return to game action on opening day and Ash spoke more about the role he will play this season.
“We're adding to what we did and diversifying what we did last year. But Janarion is still going to be one of our top playmakers on our football team and we are going to use him how we have to use him to have success. I think the thing that is different this year is we're going to probably have some more playmakers around Janarion. That is why we might not have to ask him to do as much. But he's a dynamic player, and we're going to use him as much as we possibly can and not put him in harm's way by playing him at every snap.
“Wish we could get him over at corner, too, a little bit. We're going to use him as much as we have to, and he'll be all over the field both on special teams and on offense.”