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Rutgers Men of Steele: Six Scarlet Knights on Phil Steele’s Pre-Season All-Big Ten Team

by Sal Soothsayer | Posted on Friday, June 6th, 2014

Best in the Biz Phil Steele’s preseason publication has been published and is available for scrutiny.  Six Scarlet Knights were recognized by Steele:  two on offense, three on defense and one special teams player.

1

Who was recognized:

First-team guard Kaleb Johnson and second-team tight end Tyler Kroft

A Knight Pleasantly Surprised: 

Johnson has to be pleased with the first team ranking.  The Scarlet Knights offensive line underperformed last year under the woeful coaching of former offensive line coach Damien Wroblewski.   A first-team selection goes a long way towards complimented the strong and versatile Johnson.

A Knight Curiously Disappointed: 

The 6-6 240lb Kroft put up big numbers (43-573-4) in spite of major problems at quarterback last season.  Second team is not a major slight but he will be on my first team all-Big Ten.  By comparison Heuerman went 26-466-4.

Great chance to move up the post-season list:

This is a tough one between WR Leonte Carroo (28-478-9) and RB Paul James (156-881-9); two candidates who should have most definitely been on one of Steele’s four teams.  If injuries are not a concern both will be on one of his four post-season teams but the more sure thing is Carroo.

2

Who was recognized:

First-team LB Steve Longa, third-team DL Darius Hamilton, and third-team LB Kevin Snyder.

A Knight Pleasantly Surprised: 

Snyder played the run well last year but looked overmatched and out of position quite often in the pass-game.  The dismissal of former defensive coordinator Dave Brock will help Snyder’s play this year (along with his move to the MLB position) but for someone who didn’t play the pass well the inclusion on Steele’s teams is a compliment on his ability to play the run.

A Knight Curiously Disappointed: 

What does Janarion Grant have to do to move past fourth-team?  His return game played a major role in the team’s successes last year as he returned two kicks for touchdowns and forced opponents to kick away from him the entire second half of the year in 2013.

Great chance to move up the post-season list:

Hamilton will be the team’s best defensive lineman this year.  He will improve on his 4.5 sacks from 2013 and should be a second-team player at the end of the year.  If the Big Ten wasn’t so deep on defensive lineman Hamilton would have a very good shot at first team.

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