Last season Rutgers fans enjoyed the hard-nosed running of senior Robert Martin and Miami graduate transfer Gus Edwards. The two combined for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns as they exemplified how integral the running game is to a struggling offense, keeping the team in games that should have been non-contests.
Now the Scarlet Knights will need to find a way to replicate that solid production to see offense improvement.
Enter Jon Hilliman. The 6-foot, 220 pound running back made the decision to transfer back home to Rutgers after graduating from Boston College. After producing an impressive high school campaign at St. Peters Prep, the back from Plainfield, N.J. decided to attend BC, where he proved his talents.
Hilliman is coming off of one of his best seasons yet. His 2017 campaign included 638 yards rushing, 155 yards receiving and seven total touchdowns. There were rumors that the New Jersey native was back home and visiting Rutgers in January, and with spring practice around the corner Hilliman sent out this tweet to confirm the speculation.
To end all the speculation, Yes, I️ have decided to do my final year of college football in my backyard! So grateful for this unbelievable opportunity to play at RUTGERS UNIVERSITY!! #WelcomeHomeRoscoeJenkins 🆙 #MakeNJGreatAgain pic.twitter.com/190Rf1N3Cd
— Jonathan Ⓜ️ Hilliman (@thrilliman) January 10, 2018
Hilliman is a back with great physical and mental talents. He hits the hole with a fantastic burst and has the vision to navigate his way into the second level.
Backs like Hilliman are the reason why defensive coaches stress the need to stay low when tackling. Defenders trying to tackle him up by the shoulder pads are often promptly introduced to the turf. For those who enjoyed seeing the physical running of a big back in Gus Edwards, Hilliman can provide that same vigor.
Possibly the most valuable aspect about Hilliman is the level of experience he brings into the running back room.
Coming from a respected ACC program in Boston College, the back can play a similar role of seniors of the past. This is crucial to the Rutgers backfield, which – though talented – is inexperienced and has been without a steady coordinator.
Guys like Raheem Blackshear, Rutgers’ breakout freshman back, will only benefit from spending their early careers around Hilliman.
The Scarlet Knights gear up for spring practice on Mar. 8 with Jon Hilliman aiming to make an impact in the Rutgers backfield.