There is still a lot of football left to play for Rutgers following this weekend's bye and here is a look at 5 things to watch for through the rest of the season.
1.) The beginning of the Micah Clark era
At some point during the second half of the season, the scarlet nation may finally see the beginning of the Micah Clark era. The highly-touted four-star has already played this season and burning his redshirt for a handful of plays against Morgan State would seem to be counterproductive. Clark has been taking snaps strictly at right tackle and if starter Kamaal Seymour continues to struggle, don’t be surprised if Clark winds up starting at some point this season.
2.) Lewis taking over at quarterback
It has been no secret that Johnathan Lewis is Rutgers’ quarterback of the future and that time seems to be drawing ever so closer. With starter Kyle Bolin continuing to struggle, it could make the decision a little easier for the staff. However, Lewis showed last weekend that he is still going through a bit of a learning phase as he threw two interceptions against Ohio State. But as soon as things really start to click on the field for Lewis, it could bring an abrupt end to his occasional drives and land him a permanent starting role.
3.) The winnable games
At this point, in the Big Ten, there are going to be a few games that Rutgers will not be able to win. Teams like Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State just bring in too much firepower and depth. However, games against Illinois and Indiana look to be winnable and while Purdue and Maryland are improved, they are not the same caliber team as Michigan or Ohio State. That being said, there are four games in which Rutgers should be very competitive. How Rutgers fares in these four contests will be very telling in terms of the progress that is being made during this rebuild.
4.) The Return of Ahmir Mitchell
Rutgers was going to rely heavily on redshirt freshman wide receiver Ahmir Mitchell this season and, after last game, it became evident that his services are truly needed. The RU receivers did not have a single catch against Ohio State as the unit looks to be in need of a No.1 option at the position. Mitchell is a former four-star with a ton of talent and he is rapidly nearing his return. Having his services should provide the offense with a much-needed weapon in the passing game.
5.) The Freshmen
There have been 13 Rutgers freshmen to play thus far and it would be shocking if their roles were not upgraded through the rest of the season. Bo Melton and Hunter Hayek have already started on offense and Billy Taylor has started as the long snapper on special teams. However, they are not likely to be the last freshmen to start this season. There are a number of options on defense while a couple more offensive players may also see more action on offense through the remaining seven games.
To find more on these freshmen and for a look at the current odds on each of these 5 things occurring, take a look at our latest Scarlet Slant for more tidbits and info.