Rutgers Football 2-Deep Depth Chart Released

The Rutgers University football program released its two-deep depth chart yesterday. This is the depth chart the program will start with as their summer program begins May 31st. Keep in mind, this is only a starting point for summer practices. With plenty of time left before the start of the season, and incoming freshman on their way, the depth chart may change many times before the 2011 opening game.

Head coach Greg Schiano has a talented roster, but still plenty of questions to be answered.

The depth chart leaves some questions at key positions. Running Back, Tight End, and both cornerback positions have multiple starters listed.

The running back position has Jeremy Deering, De’Antwan Williams, and Jawan Jamison listed as possible starters. Deering was moved to running back this past off-season after leading the team in rushing in 2010, out of the wildcat package. Williams turned a lot of heads this spring by showing a new found work ethic and could be ready to contribute. Jamison also had a very good spring showing and will be in the running for playing time.

Of course the position battle will get even more crowded when freshman Savon Huggins arrives on campus. Huggins is the prized recruit out of St. Peter’s Prep whom many believe will step in as the starter immediately. Joe Martinek is listed as the starting fullback.

D.C. Jefferson has some competition at tight end. He is listed as as potential starter with Paul Carrezola. Jefferson has not appeared to improve as much as Rutgers hoped and Carrezola has been coming on strong. It would be a disappointment if Jefferson loses the starting job, many believe he has the talent to be a big time threat in the passing game.

Switching to the defensive side of the ball, both cornerback positions have multiple players listed on the first team. One side has Logan Ryan and Marcus Cooper battling for the starting role, while the other has Brandon Jones and Mason Robinson. Is this a sign of great depth or lack of anyone standing out?

Two of the four are likely to get the starting roles, but which two will it be? It’s a wide open competition.

Punt returner Mason Robinson is also in competition for a starting cornerback spot.

Robinson, of Somerville, NJ, has moved to cornerback after flip flopping between running back and wide receiver the past couple seasons. Some believe cornerback is the best position for the athletic speedster and one which Rutgers should have played him at since his freshman year. Robinson is also listed as the teams starting No. 1 punt returner.

The much maligned offensive line is the same group that started the spring with the exception of David Osei at center. Dallas Hendrikson was expected to be the starter but suffered a season ending knee injury in the final week of spring camp. On the left side of Osei is Andre Civil (LT) and Desmond Wynn (LG) while the right side has Antwan Lowery (RG) and Desmond Stapleton (RT).

The Strong Point

Rutgers is absolutely loaded at the wide receiver position. Mohamed Sanu and Mark Harrison are listed as the first team starters as expected. The second team consists of Tim Wright and Brandon Coleman. Those two guys would start on most teams. This does not even mention other WR’s currently on the roster like Keith Stroud, Quron Pratt, and J.T. Tartacoff.

The Weak Link

Not saying the players will not contribute, but by looking at the depth chart you would have to think the thinnest area is the defensive line. Scott Vallone will anchor the line from the defensive tackle position where he is accompanied by Michael Larrow. Vallone is a beast but will need help in order to avoid double and triple teams. Manny Abreu and Justin Francis are listed as the starting ends. Francis has the ability to be a good one, but Abreu needs to finally step up. The second team currently consists of Jamil Merrell and Shane Meisner at end, and Isaac Holmes and Djwany Mera at tackle. I fully expect Kenneth Kirksey to get in the mix on the D-Line as well. Actually surprised he is not listed as one of the backups.

Specials

While Robinson is the punt returner, Deering and Mark Harrison are listed as the starting kick returners. If one of these players holds onto their starting role, looking for head coach Greg Schiano to try and find a replacement in the return game. Rutgers has generally shyed away from using starting offensive players in the return game. Although, with the depth at wide receiver, that may not be an issue this season. Those three players would provide excitement when Rutgers lines up to return a kick.

San San Te currently still has his starting place kicker role, but after an inconsistent spring, expect him to be pushed by Nick DeLouisa. DeLouisa who played his high school ball at Immaculata, in Somerville, has a big leg and impressed this spring. One slip up by Te could flip flop these two guys on the depth chart.

Anthony DiPaula is listed as the teams punter. He enrolled early and participated in spring practice. Camp started slowly for DiPaula but he seemed to put it together towards the end. Schiano will look for consistency from DiPaula before handing him the job. An interesting note here as Mohamed Sanu is the backup punter. Sanu last punted in high school but does have a strong leg. It certainly would be interesting to see the starting wide receiver also line up as a punter. Opposing teams would have to be careful if that happened.

Quarterback Situation

As expected, Chas Dodd is listed as the starting quarterback. Steve Shimko returned to the field late this spring and actually looked some what like a real QB in the spring game. Shimko is currently the second team signal caller but expect true freshman Gary Nova and Mike Bimonte to push for spots on the chart.

First-team Offense

QB: Chas Dodd
RB: Jeremy Deering or De’Antwan Williams or Jawan Jamison
FB: Joe Martinek
WR: Mohamed Sanu
WR: Mark Harrison
TE: Paul Carrezola or D.C. Jefferson
LT: Andre Civil
LG: Desmond Wynn
C: David Osei
RG: Antwan Lowery
RT: Desmond Stapleton
Second-team Offense
QB: Steve Shimko
RB: Deering/Williams/Jamison
FB: Michael Burton
WR: Tim Wright
WR: Brandon Coleman
TE: Carrezola/Jefferson
LT: Devon Watkins
LG: Art Forst
C: Caleb Ruch
RG: Ruch
RT: Matt McBride
First-team Defense
DE: Justin Francis
DT: Michael Larrow
DT: Scott Vallone
DE: Manny Abreu
SLB: Steve Beauharnais
MLB: Ka’Lial Glaud
WLB: Khaseem Greene
CB: Logan Ryan or Marcus Cooper
FS: David Rowe
SS: Duron Harmon
CB: Brandon Jones or Mason Robinson
Second-team Defense
DE: Jamil Merrell
DT: Djwany Mera
DT: Isaac Holmes
DE: Shane Meisner
LB: Jamal Merrell
LB: Marvin Booker
LB: Edmond Laryea
CB: Ryan/Cooper
FS: Wayne Warren
SS: Patrick Kivlehan
CB: Jones/Robinson
Specials  (Starter – Backup)
PK: San San Te  –  Nick DeLouisa
P:  Anthony DiPaula – Mohamed Sanu
PR: Mason Robinson
KR: Jeremy Deering and Mark Harrison
LS: Robert Jones – Rob Horrell