Just one week into training camp, not many questions have been answered for the Scarlet Knights.
There are still no clear leaders in the quarterback race and new players have surprised the staff, adding their names to the conversation.
Head coach Chris Ash has previously stated that, while he wanted to name a starting quarterback early on in camp, he would not rush the decision. The answer to Rutgers’ quarterback question became even fuzzier thus far into camp when sophomore Johnathan Lewis arrived on campus looking better than he had in the spring.
Lewis had been mostly written out of the quarterback conversation in the offseason due to the competition he’d have to face. Most of the talk has been surrounding the incumbent starter, Gio Rescigno, and the highly recruited and talented true freshman, Artur Sitkowski.
However, when Lewis arrived to training camp, he had brought his weight up and looked sharper than he had a season ago. Lewis picked up 111 yards and four touchdowns in seven games off the bench as a true freshman in 2017.
With Lewis effectively working his way back into the conversation, the quarterback room gets stronger for the Scarlet Knights and the decision gets harder for Ash.
Rescigno was seen taking the first-team reps for most of practice, however, Ash has stated that this is not an indicator that Rescigno will start on opening day.
Competition is never an inherently bad thing, especially when it comes to quarterbacks. The fight for the starting role appears to have been a motivating factor for all three of these players.
Lewis was never out of it, and took advantage of every inch given to him until he was firmly in the mix of the discussion.
As a redshirt senior, Rescigno has the experience to lead the Rutgers’ offense, but Sitkowski has the talent and agility to bring the Scarlet Knights to their first bowl game since 2014.
In addition to Lewis having a great first week of training camp, other players have shown up to the plate and impressed the coaching staff early in the preseason.
In what was already a very crowded running back room, true freshman Isaih Pacheco has pushed himself into the conversation and has garnered the attention of the coaching staff.
Pacheco, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back out of Vineland, New Jersey, likely will not start the first game, but has shown incredible promise early on in his collegiate career.
He will be fighting for reps and starts among seasoned veteran Jon Hilliman and last year’s star, Raheem Blackshear, but certainly looks the part of a Big Ten running back, and will be expected to contribute this season.
During the opening week of training camp, few questions have been answered for the Scarlet Knights, especially in regards to the quarterbacks and the running backs.
Rutgers needs more production from both position groups, as the dormant offense was one of the biggest problems for the Scarlet Knights a year ago.
If both groups can make it click, Rutgers should be able to make their way back to postseason play. But the first week of training camp did not give a clear answer to the biggest questions for the Scarlet Knights.