Blogs > Rutgers Rundown

Devoted to the daily goings on with Rutgers football, both at High Point Solutions Stadium and behind the scenes.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

TOP 20: Proving it in Piscataway (No. 17)

Tight end Tyler Kroft scores his first career touchdown Oct. 13 on a double move against Syracuse. (AP Photo)

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: Tyler_Barto

Less than a month remains until the start of Rutgers training camp. This top-20 countdown will run infrequently, documenting who's got the most to prove in 2013.

No. 17 — sophomore TE Tyler Kroft (6-foot-6, 240 pounds)

Why Kroft's on the list: Kroft is Rutgers' most skilled receiving tight end since the tail end of former head coach Greg Schiano's tenure. There will be plenty of pressure for Kroft to improve from a three-catch, 59-yard season in 2012.

It is amplified since proposed starter Paul Carrezola, a fifth-year senior with 36 career appearances, had a career-best 2012 but caught only eight passes. After redshirting in 2010, Kroft should have added enough to his 6-foot-6 frame to be a regular contributor.

Rutgers needs him to be. The Scarlet Knights haven't had a tight end catch more than one touchdown in a season since Clark Harris did so from 2004-06. 

Part is culture — Rutgers has been talent-heavy at wide receiver for most of the last decade. But another is an inability to develop multi-dimensional players at the position.

Kroft could affect that notion.

During training camp, keep an eye on: How offensive coordinator Ron Prince integrates the tight end position. 

Prince is the Knights' fourth playcaller in as many seasons, and players point to his tweaked zone run scheme as evidence of his ability to adapt to his roster. Prince was hired on the premise of getting balls to playmakers quickly in space.

It's a concept most coordinators claim, but based on personnel Rutgers could be a pass-heavier offense in 2013. 

At Virginia from 2003-05 — Prince's last sample size as a coordinator — Heath Miller led the ACC in receptions for a tight end twice. Those numbers dipped in 2005, when Miller left a year early for the NFL and Tom Santi caught 19 passes for 358 yards and two scores.

Santi enjoyed a brief NFL career.

2013 season outlook: With a young receiving corps, Kroft should see a significant uptick in production, depending on Prince's philosophy. 

Quarterback Gary Nova wants to make quicker reads and quicker decisions, and finally having a capable non-wideout in the middle of the field will help.

Rutgers still won't shed its identity as a blocking tight end offense, but Kroft's sophomore campaign should tweak it. He'll catch multiple scores and earn a reputation as a yard-after-catch receiver.

More from the countdown: No. 16 Darius Hamilton
No. 18 — Quanzell Lambert

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home