With spring practice taking off this week these Scarlet Knights aim to solidify their spots
The three Rutgers receivers to see time in 2017 will return for their sophomore season looking to prove they’re Big Ten caliber pass catchers. With a mix of a quarterback carousel, a run-first mentality by Rutgers, and an overall unreliable offense, the lack of production certainly doesn’t fall on these three young players. In fact, Rutgers leading receiver last year was tight end Jerome Washington, who had 282 yards receiving. Nonetheless, with Janarion Grant (team’s second leading receiver) now gone there is an opportunity for these young guys to fill that void.
Rutgers fans first caught a glimpse of Melton in a video of him dunking on a teammate which caught the eye of social media. Then the once No. 7 recruit in the state seemed to drop off completely. After starting in two of the first three games, Melton had only one reception, a 48-yard bomb where he fell just short of the end zone.
From then on, the wideout had just three catches for 43 yards the rest of the year. Given his skill set, combined with opportunity opening up and a year under his belt, I think Bo Melton could have a solid year.
Hunter Hayek played in five games and had nine catches for 62 yards on the year. The receiver also played on special teams, showing big good and bad points throughout the year both a big punt block and muff.
The Wayne Hills product has shown he has the speed to hang with Big Ten defenses and separate himself from defenders, but will need to put it all together to be a more complete receiver this year for the Scarlet Knights.
Everett Wormley had the least amount of production out of the three young receivers, which is upsetting because I thought Wormley showed great promise before coming to Rutgers.
While at Burlington Wormley looked extremely natural and comfortable playing the position. A bit undersized at 6-foot-0, he made up for his size with speed and excellent route-running ability.
With spring ball kicking off this week these three receivers are not necessarily in heated competition, as all three were able to see action early on and throughout the year.
Rutgers ranked No. 124 in the nation for passing offense, just ahead of Air Force (No. 125), Georgia Tech (No. 127), and Navy (No. 128). Each of which attempted less than 150 passes on the year. What these spring practices will be about is showing that they aren’t freshman any longer, but instead sophomores ready to make an impact.
The talent is undoubtedly present, and considering their early opportunities, the coaching staff believes that as well. It will be up to them to prove it in 2018.