Throughout the season, we have analyzed nearly every recruit in the Rutgers recruiting class of 2018. From measuring the tangibles in strength, speed, technique and size to reading into the intangibles like character, passion and love for the game, the 2018 recruiting class has shown to have quite a cast of characters. Some will take time to develop and be placed into limited roles as they progress throughout their college careers, while others look ready to take starting jobs from upperclassmen.
Below is my list of the top five recruits in the Rutgers Scarlet Knights‘ 2018 class. Keep in mind, this list is no more official than Mel Kiper’s first mock draft of the NFL offseason, so if you disagree with my choices or think I missed someone, please leave a comment down below to let me know!
Rutgers’ Top 5 recruits from the 2018 Class
- Jon Hilliman (RB, Boston College Grad Transfer)
During a four-year career with the Boston College Eagles, Hilliman accounted for 2,032 total rushing yards, 161 total receiving yards, 3.5 yards per carry and 26 total touchdowns.
Hampered by injuries and rising talent within the Eagles roster (ex: A.J. Dillion), Hilliman never really had a chance to show what he is capable of.
When healthy, Hilliman is a dangerous player to go up against.
He is a Swiss army knife of a running back; Hilliman is strong and tough enough to run defenders to the ground with a good truck or stiff arm, fast enough to leave even the fastest defender in the dust, and he has the agility to spin, cutback or juke a defender right out of their cleats.
Along with his athletic ability, Hilliman brings a much-needed veteran presence to a young Rutgers backfield. At Boston College, he helped the Eagles reach three bowl games in 2014, 2016 and 2017, winning the Quick Lane Bowl in 2016. Expect Hilliman to occupy the same role Gus Edwards had last year — an experienced, hard-hitting back, but with a wider skill set.
- Malik Dixon (DB, JUCO Post-Grad Transfer)
With the departure of Kiy Hester to a transfer request, the Scarlet Knights lost some quality depth at defensive back.
Low and behold, they just as quickly found someone to fill the gap, as JUCO post-grad transfer Malik Dixon came to the rescue.
Standing at a whopping 6-3, 216-pounds, Dixon is much bigger than your average defensive back. Dixon is a well-traveled player in that he has played in different systems for three different schools, with his latest stop being at Eastern Arizona College in 2017. During his tenure at EAC, Dixon recorded 41 tackles, six interceptions and a punt return for a touchdown.
Like Hilliman, Dixon brings a veteran presence to the defense. He was named to the first team all-conference defense in 2017. With little tape to go on, it remains to be seen how much of a difference Dixon will make in place of Hester, but the journeyman defensive back has shown to possess a strong tenacity and passion for the game, no matter where he goes.
- Adam Korsak (P, Prokick Australia)
A strong, powerful leg from the land down under, Prokick Academy’s Adam Korsak was dubbed Rutgers’ most important recruiting acquisition by NJ.com. This comes after it was reported that Rutgers’ First-Team All-Big 10 punter Ryan Anderson would be graduating from the program in May.
Anderson averaged 44.4 yards per punt in 2017, highest in the Big 10. However, according to Prokick, Korsak is reported to kick an average of 45 per punt, a clear upgrade.
Look for Korsak to secure the starting punting job this off-season, as well as potentially taking a few snaps as a kicker here and there.
- Artur Sitkowski (QB, IMG Academy)
On a scale of one to ten — one being none and ten being the most — how excited were Rutgers fans when they heard that the Scarlet Knights nabbed a four-star recruit away from the Miami Hurricanes?
I would say about a 12.
Artur Sitkowski flipped his commitment from the Hurricanes to the Scarlet Knights last November after he saw an opportunity to not only win a starting job as a freshman, but to do so in his home state.
Originally from Old Bridge, N.J., Sitkowski transferred to Florida’s IMG Academy to help hone his quarterback skills.
He is tall, strong-armed, accurate with the rock and capable of picking up yards on tte ground with his speed.
Sitkowski’s mobility and elusiveness are as fluid as water, and he is often able to slither away from would-be tacklers in the event of a pocket collapse.
While listed as a pro-style quarterback, Sitkowski will be a great fit in Coach Chris Ash’s spread offense. The spring battle between Sitkowski, fellow 2018 recruit Jalen Chatman and incumbent second-year quarterback Johnathan Lewis will be one to watch.
- Raiqwon O’Neal (OT, Conway High School)
In 2017 Rutgers was tied with Wisconsin, Oregon State and South Florida for 29th in the country in sacks allowed, with 18 total sacks in twelve games. They also tied for 70th place with Georgia Tech, Ball State, Colorado and Washington State in tackles for loss allowed, giving up 72 in twelve games.
As I have mentioned numerous times in previous articles, linemen are the most underrated players on the football field. Great football teams are built around great lineman, especially on offense. Luckily for Rutgers, Conway’s (S.C.) Raiqwon O’Neal enrolled early.
O’Neal was ranked as the No. 78 offensive tackle in the country, but he outplays his ranking whenever he steps onto the football field. A selection to the 2017 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, O’Neal is a lineman that possess good speed and agility, two words that are rarely associated with the position.
He flies off the line at the snap, possesses good overall blocking techniques and has a motor that just will not quit. Having also played on the defensive line for the Conway Tigers, O’Neal has the capability of being one of the most versatile linemen on Rutgers’ roster. A potential 60-minute lineman. If Coach Ash figures out just how to best utilize O’Neal’s natural athleticism on the offensive line alone, expect the 6-5, 270-pound big man to be a perfect complement to Rutgers’ rising senior left tackle Tariq Cole.
So, what do you think? Is my list wrong? Did I leave anyone out? Let me know in the comments below!