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All-American 2021 7 intriguing Rutgers players to watch in spring practice. including an .

All-American 2021 7 intriguing Rutgers players to watch in spring practice. including an .

All-American All-American in … intriguing Rutgers including 7 an to watch players practice, spring

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 01:00:00 -0700

The Scarlet Knights are expected to finally get on the field in the next week or so

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And when they do get there, here are seven intriguing players to keep an eye 

Rutgers football is used to long waits since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Three months away from campus last spring, a delayed 2020 season and, now, a COVID-19 pause pushing back the start of spring practice.

But the Scarlet Knights are expected to finally get on the field in the next week or so.

And when they do get there, here are seven intriguing players to keep an eye on:

RB Jamier Wright-Collins. Rutgers needs a new bruiser in the backfield following Kay’Ron Adams’ transfer to UMass.

Wright-Collins is going to get the first crack at the job.

The Paterson Kennedy product was listed at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds last season and he looked like a tight end lining up with the other running backs during pregame warmups.

Wright-Collins played exclusively on special teams last season, but there is plenty of excitement about his potential running the ball.

Quarterbacks Johnny Langan and Noah Vedral and lead back Isaih Pacheco should get a significant majority of the touches in the run game again this season.

But Adams did get about 10% of the total workload in 2020.

Those touches could go directly to Aaron Young, who is deserving of a bigger role in the offense.

But Wright-Collins could stake a claim them, too, with a strong spring.

WR Joshua Youngblood.

Wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood has shown he can develop a speedy special teams star into a starting-caliber receiver.

Aron Cruickshank transferred from Wisconsin with little career production beyond his All-Big Ten return skills and he emerged as a key part of a rejuvenated offense, finishing second on the team in receptions.

Now Underwood will try to duplicate the feat with Youngblood, who was an All-American return man at Kansas State but did not do much on offense for the Wildcats.

The bigger question with Youngblood, though, may be this: Even if Underwood can get as much out of him as he has with Cruickshank, where would he fit in? You can never have enough depth or speed, of course.

But there are only so many kicks to return and Rutgers has plenty of speedy, moderately-sized wideouts already.

Youngblood will have a role — he is too talented to not have one — but it is not immediately clear how big it will be.

TE Jovani Haskins. Rutgers has struggled at tight end, but there was seemingly no effort made to fortify the position group with a transfer portal acquisition.

And that inaction is more understandable given the frequent public praise head coach Greg Schiano and offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson have thrown Haskins’ way.

They have signaled they are all in on the Bergenfield product and expect him to play a major role in the Scarlet Knights’ offense this season.

Haskins is on his third college stop — he signed with Miami out of high school and then transferred to West Virginia — and his first season with Rutgers was about as expected.

He was a serviceable receiver and a willing, if inconsistent, blocker.

But the Scarlet Knights need more, especially given what is behind him on the depth chart.

Victor Konopka is still learning the position and Matt Alaimo appears best suited as a backup.

Haskins needs to take the leap the coaching staff believes he can, making more plays in the passing game and becoming more reliable as a run blocker.

OL Brendan Bordner. Rutgers has a slew of offensive linemen with starting experience returning in 2021.

But that does not necessarily mean there will be much suspense over the five starting spots.

Raiqwon O’Neal (left tackle) and Nick Krimin (center) are givens and it’s hard to see Bryan Felter and Reggie Sutton not landing the guard spots.

That leaves right tackle open.

The odds likely favor Temple transfer David Nwaogwugwu, but Bordner has impressed since a late-career move from the defensive line and he has clearly had a strong winter in the weight room.

He will be a factor, whether it is as a starter or as the first guy off the bench.

DT Ireland Burke. Rutgers needs to replace Michael Dwumfour at defensive tackle and while Burke is not the favorite to get the nod, he should be in the mix.

The Pope John product played in the second half of last season after a solid freshman year at Boston College.

Temple transfer Ifeanyi Maijeh likely has the inside track given his past success — he had 6.5 sacks for the Owls in 2019 — and Mayan Ahanotu will also be a factor after spending all season in the tackle rotation.

But this is Burke’s chance to make an impact and back up the expectations he arrived with.

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DE Tijaun Mason. The Philadelphia native had an impressive debut in the 2018 season opener, but he suffered a season-ending injury in the game.

He has not made much of an impact since.

But there is going to be playing time up for grabs at the two defensive end spots and Mason is one of the elder statesmen at the position group.

If he can stay healthy, he has a shot to be an impact player.

DB Peyton Powell. The man of a good deal of mystery.

Powell made a big splash when he flipped from Utah and committed to Rutgers as a transfer on the early signing day in Dec.

2019 (he started his college career at Baylor, but never played a game there).

Powell was a standout Texas high school quarterback and Schiano said he was going to get a shot at the position.

Then the pandemic canceled spring practice and those plans were abandoned; Powell was listed as a defensive back when an updated roster was finally released last fall.

But he did not play a single snap in 2020; Schiano said prior to the start of the season the NCAA had not yet granted him an eligibility waiver and there was never any further update provided.

Powell will be eligible this year with four years left to play.

Will he be a cornerback? Safety? Move back to offense? And more importantly, will he make an impact on level with the acclaim he arrived to Rutgers with?

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James Kratch may be reached at jkratch@njadvancemedia.com.

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All-American All-American

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 01:00:00 -0700

Michigan continues its strong grip on the top spot of the SI All-American team rankings as we approach NCAA's Spring Signing Period on Wednesday

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Michigan continues its strong grip on the top spot of the SI All-American team rankings as we approach NCAA’s Spring Signing Period on Wednesday.

The Wolverines landed IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) forward Moussa Diabate two days before the Early Signing Period kicked off in November, extending their lead to what seemed to be an insurmountable point.

Still, with multiple top tier players remaining on the board, no lead is safe.

Here’s how the team rankings shake out as of now.

Juwan Howard is getting it done on the recruiting trail. 

1.

Michigan

Key commits: Caleb Houstan, Moussa Diabate, Frankie Collins, Kobe Bufkin, Isaiah Barnes, Will Tschetter.

2. Duke

Key Commits: A.J.

Griffin, Paolo Banchero, Trevor Keels.

3.

Florida State

Key commits: Matthew Cleveland, Jalen Warley, John Butler, Naheem McLeod.

RELATED: Spring Signing Period: Best of Who's Left

4. Kentucky

Key Commits: Daimion Collins, Bryce Hopkins, Nolan Hickman.

5. Alabama

Key Commits: Jusaun Holt, JD Davison, Charles Beidako.

6.

Villanova

Key Commits: Jordan Longino, Angelo Brizzi, Nnanna Njoku, Trey Patterson.

7.

Memphis

Key Commits: Jordan Nesbitt, Josh Minott, John Camden, Sam Ayomide.

RELATED: Early Signing Period: Top Storylines for the ESP

8.

Baylor

Key Commits: Kendall Brown, Jeremy Sochan, Langston Love.

9.

Kansas

Key Commits: Zach Clemence, K.J.

Adams, Bobby Pettiford, Sydney Curry.

10.

Michigan State

Key Commits: Max Christie, Jaden Akins, Pierre Brooks.

11.

Connecticut

Key Commits: Jordan Hawkins, Rahsool Diggins, Samson Johnson.

12.

USC

Key Commits: Reese Dixon-Waters, Malik Thomas, Harrison Hornery, Kobe Johnson, K.J.

Allen.

13.

Colorado

Key Commits: Quincy Allen, Lawson Lovering, Julian Hammond, Javon Ruffin.

14.

Georgetown

Key Commits: Ryan Mutombo, Jordan Riley, Tyler Beard, Jalin Billingsley, Aminu Mohammed.

15.

Georgia Tech

Key Commits: Dallan “Deebo” Coleman, Miles Kelly, Jalon Moore.

16.

Nebraska

Key Commits: Bryce McGowens, Wilhelm Breidenbach, Keisei Tominaga, Oleg Kojenets.

17.

UNLV

Key Commits: Arthur Kaluma, Zaon Collins, Keshon Gilbert.

18.

Louisville

Key Commits: El Ellis, Michael James, Roosevelt Wheeler.

19.

Stanford

Key Commits: Isael Silva, Harrison Ingram, Jarvis Moss.

20.

Texas

Key Commits: Jaylon Tyson, Emarion Ellis, Keeyan Itejere.

21.

N.C.

State

Key Commits: Ernest Ross, Terquavion Smith, Breon Pass.

22. Dayton

Key Commits: DaRon Holmes, Malachi Smith, Kaleb Washington, Mustapha Amzil.

23.

Arizona

Key Commits: Shane Dezonie, Shane Nowell, K.J.

Simpson.

24.

Miami

Key Commits: Jakai Robinson, Nisine Poplar, Bensley Joseph.

25.

Seton Hall

Key Commits: Brandon Weston, Ryan Conway, Tyler Powell.

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– April 13, 2021