John McNulty is not unfamiliar with offensive prowess. In 2007, McNulty crafted one of the most dynamic offenses in Rutgers history. The craft consisted of quarterback Mike Teel, running back Ray Rice, and a pair of receivers, Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood. This blend of talent, along with McNulty’s offensive mind, coupled to produce the first FBS program to feature a 3,000 yard passer, 2,000 yard rusher, and two 1,000 yard receivers. McNulty lead the Scarlet Knights to three bowl wins (Texas, International, Papa Johns).
Since then, McNulty has never stopped being surrounded by pure talent, players who can break a game open at any time. He spent time coaching receivers with the Arizona Cardinals and Larry Fitzgerald, quarterbacks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and again with the Tennessee Titans and Marcus Mariota, and most recently, tight ends with the Los Angeles Chargers and Antonio Gates.
Spending time with these greats at the highest level is enough to speak to McNulty’s already impressive resume, but his success with young quarterbacks is special, and possibly more beneficial to Rutgers in his duties as quarterbacks coach in addition to offensive coordinator. During his time with Tampa Bay, he mentored rookie Mike Glennon to an All-Rookie year. In Tennessee? Same result, including a rookie Mariota who broke franchise records in three categories (touchdowns, completions, and passing yards).
Facing the Future
Now, McNulty is back in New Brunswick, and even though Rutgers isn’t in the same shape – or conference – he has pieces to work with. Sophomore back Raheem Blackshear showed that he can be a true offensive threat last year, putting a unique combination of quickness and speed to use against defenses.
Jonathan “Thrilliman” Hilliman, who rushed for 860 yards and 13 touchdowns as a true freshman while at Boston College, brings in an experienced back with pop behind his pads.
John McNulty, who used a pro style offense when previously with the Scarlet Knights, could have his eyes set on freshman quarterback Artur Sitowski early. The IMG Academy product was ranked the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the nation coming out of high school. At 6-foot-5, 220 lbs, Sitowski certainly has the measurements to fit the frame, and could have the talent to win the starting job.
Is this the same tandem of Rice, Teel, Underwood, and Britt? Of course not, but this season, all of those Rutgers players will have at least one thing in common. And it will be the same thing that at one time coached greats like Larry Fitzgerald, and mentored up and comers like Marcus Mariota – John McNulty in their corner.