Rutgers announced a pair of new transfers today, both of whom could make an impact on this year's team as fifth-year seniors. Lewis Toler and Nick Marsh will join the RU football team after previous stints at a pair of FBS schools.
Marsh transfers in from Utah while Toler spent his first four years at Western Michigan. Marsh will look to take over the punting duties and Toler projects as a starting cornerback.
Rutgers bid farewell to its top three cornerbacks from last year's team as all three will be in NFL training camps this summer. Former starter Logan Ryan was a 3rd round pick of the New England Patriots in the 2013 NFL Draft while the Patriots also signed fellow starter Brandon Jones as an undrafted priority free agent.
Last year's No.3 cornerback, Marcus Cooper, was a 7th round selection of the San Francisco 49ers.
That leaves only redshirt sophomore Tejay Johnson and Gareef Glashen as the only returning players with any game experience. Neither of them came close to making a start during their RU careers.
Toler, on the other hand, started 36 of 37 games in the last three years for Western Michigan.
"[Lewis] is a cornerback who I think is going to really help us solidify what right now is an inexperienced back end," Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood said today.
Toler played his high school football not too far away from Rutgers at William Penn High School in New Castle, Del. He was part of the recruiting class of 2009 in the state of Delaware that also featured current RU senior starters Jamal and Jamil Merrell as well as former RU safety Duron Harmon, who was selected in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Rutgers' second transfer has a few more miles to log between home and Rutgers. Punter Nick Marsh is a native of Petaluma, Calif., and spent his previous four years at the University of Utah.
During that span, Marsh was relegated to primarily kickoff duties and in 2012 he was able to register 25 touchbacks on 60 kickoffs.
Marsh will now be Rutgers' only scholarship punter since Anthony Dipaula transferred out this spring following an unsuccessful two-plus years with the program.
"Nick has an excellent reputation. Utah happened to have another excellent punter out there so he didn't have many opportunities to do that," Flood said. "He's also been a proven kickoff guy and that can be a tremendous weapon during the season as well. We'll look forward to trying him at both those spots and seeing if he wins both those jobs."
Both players will suit up in scarlet for the first time when training camp begins on Aug 2nd. And when the season begins, both are front runners to be part of the starting lineup.
"I think certainly they will both have a chance to impact us immediately," Flood said. "When you take a fifth-year player for one year, you have to put them in a position to do things that will allow them to showcase their abilities. There's a reason why these two players chose Rutgers, and there's a reason why we recruited them.
"Certainly we have a need at both spots that we think we've helped ourselves with, and I think from their perspective, they see opportunity. Much in the same way a guy like R.J. Dill did. And R.J. didn't win the job until training camp but once he did, he really did a nice job for us the entire year and was a stabilizing force for us up front. I think both of these players can serve the same purpose."
Last year, a similar situation presented itself as Rutgers brought in a fifth-year transfer from Maryland by the name of R.J. Dill. He would go on to start every game last season at right tackle and is now currently a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"Going to Rutgers for my fifth year was the best decision of my life," Dill told Scarlet Nation on Wednesday night. "Not only did coach Flood and his staff better prepare me for the NFL, they welcomed me as a part of the family. That is something I will never forget and will always be grateful for. The two fifth-year transfers couldn't have stepped into a better situation with a head coach who knows how to handle it and will make them better."