With just over two months until football season kicks off in Piscataway, excitement is building to see just how improved the Scarlet Knights will be this season.
Last season, the Knights doubled their wins from 2016 to four, and should Rutgers continue the trend of winning two more games each season, they will find themselves in bowl contention. The idea of Rutgers playing in a bowl game is no longer laughably unrealistic, and head coach Chris Ash has put his team in the position to make it a reality.
Much of the Scarlet Knight’s bowl game hopes will come down to the quarterbacks, and Ash has assembled a solid core of athletes to build his team around.
While Ash has not officially named true freshman Artur Sitkowski as the starting quarterback, and won’t make that decision until a few weeks into camp, all eyes are on the 6-foot-5, 215 pound pro-style quarterback to lead the Scarlet Knights this season.
Originally committed to Miami, Sitkowski shocked college football last fall by flipping his commitment to his hometown school, and then went on to shine during Rutgers’ spring game.
Sitkowski was not perfect; he had some pace issues, and held onto the ball a little too long at times, but the potential of greatness was there. As Sitkowski dropped 75-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Bo Melton, it was hard to remember he only had two weeks of college practices under his belt.
While much of the buzz surrounding the incoming freshman has focused on Sitkowski, incoming freshman Jalen Chatman just finished an impressive high school career. Chatman, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound dual-threat quarterback from Inglewood, California, completed 2-of-7 passes for 39 yards during the Scarlet-White spring game.
Beyond the exciting freshmen, Rutgers has a few familiar faces at the position. Redshirt senior Gio Rescigno and sophomore Johnathan Lewis shared the starting responsibilities last season for the Scarlet Knights, going a combined 61-for-138 on the year, but still managed to win games.
It was not always pretty for the duo, with Rescigno only throwing an average of 57.4 yards per game and Lewis with only 14 completions on 28 attempts. However, the pair used their legs, relied on their playmakers and squeaked out wins in big spots. With John McNulty back at the helm of the quarterbacks this year, fans can expect to see more of that – getting wins in big spots.
Scarlet Knight fans have reason to be excited for this season on the banks. With two years of experience under Chris Ash’s belt and John McNulty leading the offense once again, the script is set for Rutgers to return to a bowl game for the first time since 2014. A large part of that run is going to come from the quarterbacks, and a duo of young guns and two veterans with winning experience might be just what the Scarlet Knights need in 2018.