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Rutgers returns 14 starters as the Scarlet Knights aim for their sixth straight winning season and fifth consecutive bowl victory.
Rutgers is one of four teams in the nation that has won at least four straight bowl games (along with Utah, Georgia and Southern California).
Rutgers had two players chosen in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft (OT Anthony Davis and CB Devin McCourty). They are the second and third first-round picks in school history (WR Kenny Britt, 2008).
RB Joe Martinek was sixth in the BIG EAST in rushing in 2009 (74.4 yards per game).
QB Tom Savage, who is a true sophomore, already has the most starting experience of any projected starting quarterback in the BIG EAST. Savage made 11 starts and played in all 12 games last season.
Savage set a BIG EAST record for a true freshman by throwing for 2,211 yards. He was second nationally among all true freshman quarterbacks in passing yards and touchdowns.
WR Mohamed Sanu joined Savage as a Freshman All-America selection of the Football Writers Association of America. Sanu was second on the Scarlet Knights in both receiving and rushing as a true freshman in 2009.
The Scarlet Knights lose three players from their starting offensive line from last year, including Davis, who was a two-time All-BIG EAST First Team pick.
The Scarlet Knights held eight of their 13 opponents to 300 yards of offense or fewer in 2009. Rutgers registered two shutouts and limited seven opponents to fewer than 20 points.
Rutgers lost impact players at all three levels of its defense, including All-BIG EAST First Team cornerback Devin McCourty.
The Scarlet Knights return three starters on the defensive line, headlined by DT Alex Silvestro (42 tackles, 12 TFL).
LB Steve Beauharnais emerged as a starter late in his freshman season and had five sacks. He joins LB Antonio Lowery as the top candidates at linebacker.
Both kicking specialists return for the Scarlet Knights in K San San Te and P Teddy Dellaganna.
Rutgers’ special teams blocked six kicks last year, but will have to replace a first-round draft pick in McCourty, who had three blocks of his own.
|From the BIG EAST Newsstand
| "There are times during Rutgers practices that David Rowe admits to being frustrated when he’s matched up with wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. It’s not necessarily because Sanu is bigger. Or that he’s stronger. Or even that he’s faster. It’s that Rowe, a cerebral cornerback, usually meets his match in terms of football IQ as well."
Where is Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu at his best? Wherever you put him - The Star-Ledger
|"Greg Schiano’s approach to his lineup has remained consistent since his first year on the job: The best players play, regardless of class year. But just because Rutgers’ 10th-year coach won’t hesitate to put true freshmen on the two-deep — four are listed in the depth chart released today for Thursday’s opener against Norfolk State — doesn’t mean there isn’t some trepidation about doing so."
True freshmen could play big roles for Rutgers this season - The Star-Ledger