Saturday will be the first Big Ten home start of his collegiate career for Gavin Wimsatt, who is likely to get the nod when No. 4 Michigan comes to town.
Wimsatt is a tremendous prospect at quarterback but he is still young. A former four-star recruit out of Owensboro High School (Owensboro, KY), Wimsatt played the first three games of his senior season in 2021.
He then graduated early and arrived on campus last September. It is a unique path for Wimsatt, who just turned 19 years old this week.
In the midst of his second season of college football (Wimsatt played four games last season, ensuring his redshirt), he is at an age where he should be in his first season of college football. It is with this in mind that Wimsatt will get the start for Rutgers (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten) against No. 4 Michigan (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) at 7:30 PM ET on the Big Ten Network.
Last weekend was a tough showing for the entire Rutgers offense and Wimsatt was no different. In his first Big Ten start, Wimsatt was 6-of-17 for 68 yards with an interception and a fumble lost.
It is part of the growing pains – and lessons – that personify Wimsatt’s development as the future of Rutgers football. Head coach Greg Schiano saw Wimsatt as “comfortable” on Saturday even if the end product of his maturation is still a ways away.
“I watched him pretty closely because have a really young quarterback in there. I felt he looked comfortable. I don’t think he looked out of place,” Schiano told reporters on Monday.
“I felt that he ran an operation, and then he made some really good throws. And then he made a mistake and then he made another mistake that were two turnovers. But he shows why we’re excited about his future. That’s what I thought I could come away with Saturday was, it’s a matter of time, I do believe that, and I think it’s a when, not an if. You’ve just got to keep going. You know, we are building something here, and he’s a big part of it but so are a bunch of other guys that are working their tails off, so just keep moving.”
Wimsatt might be the most accomplished quarterback recruit brought in by Schiano. Reclassified as part of the class of 2021, Wimsatt held offers that included Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Notre Dame, TCU and West Virginia among others.
This isn’t Schiano’s first rodeo when it comes to going through the ringer with a young quarterback.
In 2009, Schiano turned to four-star quarterback Tom Savage as a true freshman. His faith in the former U.S. Army All-American was rewarded with a bowl win over Central Florida that season.
Has Schiano changed his perspective or thoughts in handing the keys of the offense over to a young quarterback still wet behind the ears? He said that his handling of a young quarterback has developed, even if he was brief in how exactly he will handle Wimsatt differently this go-around.
“Not really no, I’m a different coach all these years later. The similarity would be that it’s a young quarterback, but that’s probably where it ends,” Schiano said on Wednesday.
“I think I’ve learned a lot, however long it has been, 13 years?”