The newest crop of college football players are starting to arrive on campuses all over the country. Freshmen and transfers will make their first impressions at summer classes and workouts with their new, veteran teammates in the next couple weeks. Most will be hoping to lay the groundwork for an immediate impact this season. This week on the Big Ten blog, we’ll be identifying the player from each of the league’s teams that has the best chance to become a well-known name by the end of the fall.
Next up in the series is Rutgers.
Top newcomer: QB Tylin Oden
It seems highly unlikely that Rutgers would play a true freshman who did not participate in spring practice at quarterback. Then again...
New coach Chris Ash came to the Scarlet Knights from Ohio State and intends to use an offense similar to the Buckeyes' attack. What really makes that offense go is a quarterback who's a threat to run or pass. Neither incumbent starter Chris Laviano or contender Hayden Rettig is really that guy, as both are more suited as pure pocket passers.
Ash did not name a starter after the spring. And he left open the possibility for Oden to come in this August and make an impression.
"If we have a veteran that everybody trusts, he's demonstrated over a long period of time that he is the starter -- you'd love to have that situation. We don't have that right now," Ash told reporters this spring. "Any newcomer that comes on our campus, we're going to evaluate them to see if they can give us a chance to win games. If they can, they're going to be given an opportunity to play."
The 6-foot-5 Odin reportedly weights only 185 pounds right now, and that's after he bulked up in the spring. That kind of frame, along with his inexperience, screams redshirt. Then again, if neither Laviano nor Rettig runs away with the job, Ash might well be tempted to push fast forward and get the future of the program going early.