No matter what team, no matter what level of competition, be it high school football or the NFL- the key component to any successful offense is the quarterback position.
For reference, teams like No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Penn State, and No. 15 Washington St. have been able to enjoy tremendous amounts of success this season thanks to the cannon-fire rocket launchers that are their quarterbacks.
And while good running games and strong defensive play has helped teams like No. 1 Alabama establish dominance within the NCAA and their respective conferences, having a good passing game can really help push a program forward come playoff time.
With that said, if one were to take a good look at Rutgers’ passing offense, they would be horrified. Rutgers ranks No. 120 in passing offense; having a measly 848 total passing yards, completing only 53 percent of their passes. The Scarlet Knights have only four total touchdowns to their eight interceptions on the year, a touchdown-interception ratio of one-to-two.
Graduate transfer quarterback Kyle Bolin was supposed to be an uplift in play for the Scarlet Knights this season, while also being a mentor for quarterbackof the future Johnathan Lewis. So far, Bolin has been abysmal; 73 completions on 133 attempts (54.9 percent) for three touchdowns and six interceptions over six games.
Lewis hasn’t offered much to cheer for, either. He’s played more of a situational role for the Scarlet Knights, looking more like a wildcat quarterback than a dual-threat. His rushing stats (73 rushing yards, four touchdowns) exceed his passing stats (33 passing yards for one touchdown and two interceptions) by a mile. If this keeps up, the Scarlet Knights should consider moving him from quarterback to running back for next season.
And as for redshirt junior Giovanni Rescigno- let us just say, if they had to bring Bolin to solidify the starting quarterback spot, you know the uncertainty at the position is still present.
Rutgers has talent across the board in terms of receivers and running backs. Now all they need is a signal caller that knows how to use his weapons as best he can.
Enter Jalen Chatman.
Chatman has been marked as your typical dual-threat quarterback. He’s quick on his feet, has a good arm, and exhibits blazing speed when running out of the pocket. Typically, dual-threat quarterbacksthrive in a spread offense system; they only need to focus on their first read target, they rely heavily on read-option plays, and rarely do they ever throw the ball. But looking through his highlights and game tape, he’s proven to be far from the typical.
Chatman has great accuracy, able to threat the needle in the tiniest of holes in coverage. Even when he’s forced to escape the pocket, he can throw the ball just as accurately. His decision making is rapid. He’ll usually laser his first read target, but can easily find a secondary receiver when he needs to. As mentioned before, he has incredible speed. His ability to out run defenders for long scores has been a major asset in his play with the Narbonne High School Gauchos.
His talent and skill set have impressed so many, according to NJ.com, Chatman was selected to play in the 2017 Blue-Grey All-American Bowl this coming December.
“[Alabama Coach] Mark McMillian DM’ed me about my highlights. He said they looked great,” Chatman told NJ.com. “At first, he was just going to nominate me for the game. But they decided to offer me the opportunity outright instead.”
It will be interesting to see how Chatman will do when he comes into the Rutgers depth chart. With Rescigno, Lewis, and fellow 2018 Rutgers commit quarterback Sean Chambers all vying for the starting nod, it will be a tight and stressful off season for the dual-threat California quarterback.
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