It was a busy weekend in the world of Rutgers sports and The Monday Morning Kickoff gets you caught up on everything you need to know to start off a new week in the scarlet nation.
A view from the gridiron (Rutgers Football)
Rutgers will begin preparations for Virginia Tech on Tuesday as the team spent the last week with practice time split between the younger players and the varsity. Last week also included some all-star game invites as Khaseem Greene accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl on Jan 26th in Mobile, Ala.
D.C. Jefferson, Scott Vallone and R.J. Dill all earned invites to the East West Shrine Game, which will take place on Jan 19th in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"I was pretty excited but individual honors like that don't come without team success," said Dill. "I wouldn't be there without Betim Bujari, Antwan Lowery and the rest of the offensive line I play with."
Saturday brought out some of the area's top prospects as a host of juniors visited Piscataway to check a Rutgers practice and more.
"It went really well. I liked the players' panel that they had," said St. Peter's Prep running back Jonathan Hilliman. "We were able to talk to the players without the coaches. I got a lot of information."
Pope John standout junior athlete Noah Brown was also in attendance and shared his thoughts.
"I loved it. It was my first real in-depth look at the program and what it has to offer. I was very impressed."
Rutgers will re-take the practice field Tuesday morning and remember to stay logged on Scarlet Nation for the latest news as well as our 'Ask The Staff' feature which will return later today.
The take from center court (Rutgers Basketball)
The basketball program made headlines, and not in a good way, on Thursday when Rutgers announced that the team's head coach Mike Rice would be suspended for three games for inappropriate behavior and language stemming from incidents which occurred during practice. Associate head coach David Cox was placed in charge of the program on an interim basis.
Cox made his debut as the head man yesterday against UAB, and the team earned its seventh victory of the season, 88-79. The Scarlet Knights connected on their first 10 field goal attempts, jumping out to a 50-33 halftime lead and controlling the game wire-to-wire.
"I didn't get much sleep last night," said Cox. "The fact that it was a noon game and I didn't have a lot of time to think about it helped."
Sophomore guards Myles Mack and Eli Carter led the way, with Mack continuing his torrid shooting en route to a game-high 23 points. Carter added 20 of his own, his ninth career 20-point game. Senior Dane Miller contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.
Rutgers plays this Friday at home against Howard as the second part of a mens-womens doubleheader. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.
Life on the mat (Rutgers Wrestling)
Rutgers participated in the "Grapple at the Garden" duals on Sunday which featured a total of 14 college wrestling programs. Rutgers split a pair of matches with a 28-12 win over Chattanooga but dropped a 22-10 contest against No.14-ranked Nebraska.
RU redshirt freshman heavyweight Billy Smith finished with a 2-0 record for the day while junior 125-pounder Joey Langel earned a 9-1 major decision win over 19th ranked Skylar Wood of Nebraska.
Next up for the Scarlet Knights is a trip to CSU Bakersfield on Thursday, Jan. 3, with action beginning at 7 p.m. EST. RU will then remain out west for the Stanford Duals which will take place on Sunday, Jan. 6th.