OT Anthony Davis
9-7-09 CINCINNATI (Mon.)
9-12-09 HOWARD
9-26-09 at Maryland
10-16-09 PITTSBURGH (Fri.)
10-23-09 at Army (Fri.)
10-31-09 at Connecticut
11-12-09 SOUTH FLORIDA (Thur.)
11-21-09 at Syracuse
11-27-09 at Louisville (Fri.)
Coach: Greg Schiano
46-51, 8 years

2008 Statistics

2008 RESULTS: 8-5
at Navy LOST 21-23
at West Virginia LOST 17-24
at Cincinnati LOST 10-13
at Pittsburgh WON 54-34
at South Florida WON 49-16
North Carolina State WON 29-23

2008 Final Rankings
AP-34, Coaches-36, BCS-UR


2009 Outlook

Cautious optimism abounds in Piscataway. Head coach Greg Schiano - who began here in 2000 and had five straight losing seasons before taking the corner and posting winning records the last four – has earned the ability to have expectations placed upon him annually. That’s something that didn’t exist here during the off-season until Schiano’s 2006 squad went 11-2. Now, losing here is again a disappointment.

Picking up where they left off from last season means trying to continue a seven-game overall win streak as well as a three-win bowl run. For a program that had never been to a bowl game before Schiano coached here, off-season animosity of any kind is good.

Though the 2009 Scarlet Knight squad has most of the same offensive players, the offensive profile will have little resemblance to last year’s. Ex-QB Teel took this 140-year old program to its first four bowl games ever, so replacing him automatically means a step back, from both a production and leadership standpoint. Whoever is at quarterback will dictate the kind of play calling we’ll see. Fleet-footed Jabu Lovelace offers the most worthy real-game experience, but Lovelace’s erratic arm and absence this spring allowed fellow-senior Domenic Natale to establish his aerial talents with so much work on the First Team. Highly-touted newbie Tom Savage is pressing hard, attending as many practices as his high school schedule will allow to jump start his chances. It all looks great in theory, but production/results on the field within this (usually) pro-style scheme will require the same patience toward development displayed in the years before Schiano arrived. New QB(s) mean such.

Since the two former WRs were drafted (NFL), their replacements also hold critical roles. Tim Brown has a name like he will excel, and this tiny, mighty snarler hasn’t failed to impress this spring. Finding others as consistent will be the challenge, but capable hands are on deck. The running game and line look impressive, a nice compliment to the passing game’s needs. Enough ground production will accelerate the QB development, and quality line play amongst its five returning starters will mean the QB(s) remain upright long enough to complete their attempts. This offense has much potential.

The defense looks as strong as the offense, and even more assured. One concern is the size of the tackles, but incoming frosh Isaac Holmes will bolster this issue. The quickness and heady play Schiano has cultivated on the DL already does its job pretty well, so any size increases are a plus.

The back seven is as good as any of the better pass coverage units in the league. A quality two-deep just has to sort out who plays where. Both the DBs and the LBs have a nice mix of experience, youth, and size range.

The biggest defensive change will be that Schiano is finally allowing other coaches (two) to coordinate his stopping units. Last year’s average of allowing a bit under 19 points per game got back to how stingy that great 2006 defense was; they allowed 14.3 per game. This trend needs to remain to keep the coordinating duties out of Schiano’s hands, which will allow this master strategist more time in other crucial areas.

Two FCS opponents mean that Rutgers has to win seven games to reach bowl eligibility. That said, finding West Virginia and Louisville also vetting new QBs likely means some serious jostling within the league results. This is not a top-heavy conference like it was just three years ago, so Rutgers getting good fast and rising to the top of the Big East isn’t such a stretch.

Schiano’s teams have been capable of all kinds of results on the field; like we saw in ’08, ‘streaky’ accurately describes a typical Scarlet Knight season under the Bucknell graduate. Stability on the gridiron will do wonders for the ‘Win’ column.

Staying on topic, one thing Schiano hasn’t wavered on is how much he demands in the classroom. As the only state institution at the FBS level ranked in the top five nationally for its four-year Academic Process Rate (APR) scores, and seeing how its the only one in the APR top five with three-straight bowl wins, this age-old program could easily be judged as (currently) the most successful in the FBS. In an era of “win at any cost”, stressing that players be both top athletes AND top students is often forgotten (especially in the media). And since most college football players don’t go on to the pros, this is an all-important measurement. Cheering for a team because they win or lose is easy, but finding a reason like this to cheer for a team champions humanity and education above immediate gratification. Rutgers is full of all kinds of successes, and hopefully, the Knights can get results on the field to be as consistent as they are in the lecture halls.

Projected 2009 record: 7-5
CB Devin McCourty
2008 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Domenic Natale, 3-8-0, 36 yds., 0 TD

Rushing: Kordell Young, 142 att., 554 yds., 5 TD

Receiving: Tim Brown, 27 rec., 565 yds., 6 TD

Scoring: San San Te, 12-17 FG, 45-48 PAT, 81 pts.

Punting: Teddy Dellaganna, 55 punts, 41.2 avg.

Kicking: San San Te, 12-17 FG, 45-48 PAT, 81 pts.

Tackles: Ryan D'Imperio, 93 tot., 41 solo

Sacks: Ryan D'Imperio, 5.5 sacks

Interceptions: Damaso Munoz, Devin McCourty, Brandon Bing, Ryan D'Imperio - 1 each

Kickoff Returns: Tim Brown, 4 ret., 21.8 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Mason Robinson, 2 ret., 7.0 avg., 0 TD



DB/WR Mohamed Sanu - The true freshman can play anywhere. His spring debut was tremendous in this secondary and coaches have taken a chance a lined him up at receiver as well.

RB De'Antwan Williams - Injuries hampered the ball carriers this spring. The four star recruit out of Woodbridge, VA will get an early look in August to see if he can be a part of the rotation.

QB Tom Savage - He may not be ready to quarterback a college team yet, but the 6-4 gem of this year's recruiting class is going to get his chance. He has put in the film room already.

2009 College Football Preview
OFFENSE: Mike Teel-QB, Tiquan Underwood-WR, Kevin Brock-TE, Mike Gilmartin-OL, Kenny Britt-WR (NFL), Dennis Campbell-WR
DEFENSE: Pete Tverdov-DT, Jamaal Westerman-DE, Kevin Malast-LB, Jason McCourty-CB, Courtney Greene-FS


The race to replace Rutgers all-time leading passer (Teel) is still neck-and-neck, and-neck. Fifth-year senior Jabu Lovelace was held out this spring (ankle); his dual threat abilities are more realized with his ground production, though, than with his arm. This Tenafly product has to hold off Warren classmate Dom Natale, last year’s backup who had a solid spring to become the early leader in the clubhouse. Natale stood above dual-threat frosh D.C. Jefferson and overmatched RS classmate Steve Shimko, but a third name being seriously considered is this year’s No.8 pro-style prospect, Tom Savage. Without “a ton of [QB] plays being made anywhere”, according to Schiano, Savage’s skill set as a hurler (and his decent set of wheels) assure this guy who turned down Michigan, Miami and Georgia will probably get a good look and some real game reps. Though not available yet, Savage attended every spring practice and was found staying up late absorbing game film. Bet on Lovelace to get the initial nod on venerability, but to be given a short leash if/when his passing prowess falls short.


There are definitely more capable hands on deck in this unit than at QB. Smallish Kordell Young has the seniority and got the bulk of last year’s carries, but he is no lock to become the main backfield weapon. Young’s ‘08 ACL tear meant a limited eight-game showing, and that gave the state’s all-time career prep rushing leader, Joe Martinek of Hopatcong, his chance to secure more carries for ’09. Still, the svelte Martinek isn’t as popular as Young in the flat. Scott Jourdan is the between-the-tackles linchpin at 245lbs, but last year’s second leading rusher and top ground scorer surprisingly doesn’t occupy the fullback slot. Atlantic City’s Jack Corcoran gets that nod; his abilities in the flat also need to be noted by defenders. This many quality runners, along with a new QB needing backfield distractions, should equal a better showing than last year’s ranking as the league’s second-worst rushing attack, especially with five starters back on the line.


Britt and Underwood leaving with Teel mean new QB-WR relationships will need to be established. 5-8 Miami senior Tim Brown is a quality, speedy deep threat, but stepping in as one of the top receivers will make his slot role(s) change. Brown still stands out as both a leader and the top target after spring. RS frosh Keith Shroud and senior Julian Hayes are still fighting for the second spot, but none, including Brown, is at the same stellar level as the two departees. The big news in this corps has been the emergence of ex-safety Mohamed Sanu. Sanu was an all-around type of player in high school (South Brunswick) and has an acumen for playing anywhere, hence his move here in the last week of spring ball as the need arose. Sanu’s move proves how desperate Schiano and co-coordinators Ciarrocca and Flood must be here. Fortunately, junior TE Shamar Graves is more like a large WR than a true TE, so the Knights have a decent target for the middle. This group should find identity by mid-season, though, role players will need to be found quickly with the new QBs needing structure.


Junior LT Anthony Davis earned Second Team all-league honors and proved his freshman all-American designation was no fluke. Davis’s huge frame is representative this entire group. Like Davis, senior Kevin Haslem moved from guard to tackle in 2008 with moderate success (Haslem straddled both spots on the right side). Classmate Ryan Blaszczyk will anchor at center, so his middle assignment can foster the two soph guards who are still picking up the finer points at the FBS level. Forst bumped inside as a true frosh in ’08 and did adequate work, but it was Kaleb Ruch’s improved footwork that really helped turn the line’s group results around by mid-season last year. That turnaround was the catalyst for Rutger’s seven-game win streak to end the campaign and is a key for this year’s offense to prove it can handle all of the key personnel losses. Per 2008, this same starting five has a wide range of possibilities; good group play can deliver the offense into a productive post-Teel era, but inconsistency again rearing its ugly head early on would set Schiano back in finding that new offensive identity.


RB Kordell Young


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Domenic Natale-Sr (6-2, 210) Jabu Lovelace-Sr (6-2, 215)
FB Jack Corcoran-Sr (6-1, 230) Andrew Morales-Jr (6-2, 250)
RB Kordell Young-Jr (6-1, 245) Jourdan Brooks-So (6-1, 245)
Joe Martinek-So (6-0, 215)
WR Julian Hayes-Jr (6-1, 215) Tim Wright-RFr (6-4, 205)
Mason Robinson-Jr (5-10, 190) (RB/WR)
WR Tim Brown-Sr (5-8, 165) Mohamed Sanu-Fr (6-2, 215)
Andrew DePaola-Sr (6-2, 205)
TE Shamar Graves-Jr (6-3, 230) Fabian Ruiz-So (6-4, 245)
OT Anthony Davis-Jr (6-6, 325) Desmond Stapleton-So (6-5, 280)
OG Caleb Ruch-So (6-4, 285) Howard Barbieri-Jr (6-5, 295)
C Ryan Blaszczyk-Sr (6-4, 295) Matthew Hardison-So (6-4, 280)
OG Art Forst-So (6-8, 310) Desmond Wynn-So (6-6, 275)
OT Kevin Haslam-Sr (6-7, 295) Devon Watkis-RFr (6-7, 320)
K San San Te-So (5-9, 180) Teddy Dellaganna-Jr (6-2, 210)




For their modest size, the Rutger’s DLmen do pretty well. Tackles like junior Alex Silvestro need to be closer to 300lbs, but this mobile ex-wrestler has surpassed expectations every year, so far. He will have to hold off senior Blair Bines and others like promising RS frosh Scott Vallone, but such competition bodes well. Don’t be surprised if Silvestro is bumped outside with his quick feet. Charlie Noonan really soared this spring, earning himself both the Douglas A. Smith award (most improved player on this side of the ball) and the likely start at nose. But Noonan will have Eric LeGrand vying for reps, as well as four-star newbie Isaac Holmes looking to make an early splash. Hoboken’s Holmes has the size this interior lacks. Just note how the line’s leader, end senior George Johnson, outweighs Silvestro by nearly 15 pounds. Johnson will anchor his side without needing much help, while Jon Freeney is the best candidate to replace Westerman if Silvestro doesn’t land at end. Sorie Bayoh will press for and is sure to get plenty of reps. Rotations here happen often, so size issues can be offset by tenacity via fresher legs. Run stopping results improved last year by over 20 less yards allowed, which gives promise for a quick DL that mostly hovers between 240-270 pounds.


Grounded by second leading Scarlet Knight tackler Ryan D’Imperio possibly moving back to his more natural position in the middle, this corps looks to again be strong. D’Imperio is also the second leading returning Big East tackler, so expectations are high for the Sewell native. Assignments aren’t set until summer ball concludes. Antonio Lowery is the designated MLB on some early depth charts, so much has to be ironed out still before this unit of quality individual components gels. The outside will likely see Manny Abreau continue to improve like he did his entire ‘08 RS freshman season. The spring game saw this Union City product lead all tacklers (10), so Abreau seems to be “feeling it” already. The guy he eventually supplanted, Damaso Munoz, should be found on the other side, but he has also started at MLB (10 times in ‘07) and could be used there when needed. Freeny and Dumont have important roles as oft-seen backups, with Dumont better as a possible hybrid-nickel for foes that use spread looks. New co-coordinator Bob Fraser also oversees this group’s progress, so after years of Schiano holding the defensive reigns, expect big things from Fraser and his LBs.


Once this secondary finds its starters at corner, opposing passing games will hate playing Rutgers. Devin McCourty led the team in pass breakups last year, but he is expected to take a more limited role. That leaves the door open for Brandon Bing to return to his 2007 form, when he slaughtered as a true freshman. True soph David Rowe impressed last season in run support, but fifth-year senior Billy Anderson has earned his steady career rise to possibly start. Coverage looks adequate, but will have to improve to match recent results. Joe Lefeged is the incumbent at SS, with 6’2 Zaire Kitchen as a rangy alternate (team leading three forced fumbles in ’08). They’ll foster Khaseem Greene (not related to departed namesake Courtney, who started all 51 of his games at free safety). The latest Greene is having heaps of praise come his way, but it’s unknown Pat Kivlehan who has developed the most this off-season and is now turning heads. Safeties shuffling around to find the best combinations will happen early, but the bodies here are capable of becoming a formidable unit.


LB Ryan D'Imperio


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE George Johnson-Sr (6-4, 260) Sorie Bayoh-Jr (6-3, 245)
DT Charlie Noonan-Jr (6-2, 265) Eric LeGrand-So (6-2, 240)
DT Blair Bines-Sr (6-2, 260) Justin Francis-So (6-4, 260)
DE Alex Silvestro-Jr (6-4, 250) Jonathan Freeny-Jr (6-3, 240)
LB Antonio Lowery-Jr (6-2, 225) Manny Abreu-So (6-3, 245)
LB Ryan D'Imperio-Sr (6-3, 240) Jim Dumont-Jr (6-1, 215)
LB Damaso Munoz-Sr (6-0, 215) Edmond Laryea-Jr (6-1, 215)
CB Billy Anderson-Sr (6-0, 185) Brandon Bing-Jr (5-11, 165)
CB Devin McCourty-Sr (5-11, 185) David Rowe-So (6-0, 195)
SS Joe Lefeged-Jr (6-1, 200) Patrick Kivlehan-So (6-2, 205)
FS Zaire Kitchen-Sr (6-2, 215) Khaseem Greene-RFr (6-1, 195)
P Teddy Dellaganna-Jr (6-2, 210) Tyler Thomas-RFr (5-10, 210)




PK San San Te proved his high prep ranking (No.5 prospect) was accurate, but going 0-for-3 from 40-49 yards is an issue until he can convert from this distance. P Ted Dellaganna’s average makes it seem like the punting game is ready, but two blocked attempts, a lack of fair catches and marginal net results tell how Rutgers has work to do before they control this important dimension. Like Dellaganna, West Orange’s Tyler Thomas also has a capable all-around foot in case injuries occur. All got a look this spring with Te out from a lower back procedure; Te will be back at full strength by August. Mason Robinson will likely get his due as one of the chosen return men, offsetting converted safety Mohamed Sanu as the primary punt returner. Still, nothing is set yet. The return game is another area where this team needs to improve to win those tighter tilts, so expect to see new faces until the right guys are found.