Which position group needs to improve for Rutgers to defeat Illinois?

Bobby Deren, Editor
Scarlet Nation

Rutgers will take on Illinois this weekend and when the ball kicks off on Saturday, it will be three full weeks since a Rutgers wide receiver has made a catch. The last wide receiver to haul in a pass was Hunter Hayek, who had a 9-yard reception in the fourth quarter against Nebraska.

The group did not come with a single catch in four quarters in its last game against Ohio State.

“There are breakdowns at every level [of the offense], whether it’s protection, the ball, route running or it’s a drop,” wide receivers coach Jafar Williams said on Tuesday. “There are a whole bunch of things that go into that. We just have to clean it up as an offense.”

On a positive note, Rutgers will get back the services of senior wide receiver Janarion Grant after he missed two games as a result of a blow to the head against Morgan State.

“It was too long,” Grant said on Tuesday. “I am not trying to have any injuries keeping me from playing the sport I love. But I am back now and I am just ready to work.”

Grant also claimed to be completely healthy.

“I feel great, I am ready to go,” he said. “I know I am going to be good for Saturday. I know we are going to get the win. We just have to make sure the team comes back and plays well and make the least amount of mistakes.”

Despite missing two games, Grant still leads the Rutgers wide receivers with 12 catches as the rest of the unit has combined for just 23 receptions through five games.

Coming into the season, there were high hopes for freshman four-star Bo Melton, although he has been quiet thus far.

Melton has just one catch this season and the coaching staff continues to attribute his lack of production to his youth.

“He is a freshman and freshmen have to deal with the grind,” Williams said of Melton. “They don’t understand that it is easy early when your body feels good. Coach [Jerry] Kill tells a story about Larry Fitzgerald and said the only day he ever feels good is the first day of camp. After that, your body starts to break down and you have to worry about recovery and those things. But just the mental grind and the physical grind gets to freshmen and that is where it’s my job to bring them along.”

For more on the Rutgers wide receiver situation and who may or may not play this week, check out our latest Scarlet Slant.


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