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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Six-for-six: Who had the best pound-for-pound season in Rutgers' Big Ten debut?

(For The Trentonian — John Blaine)
By Tyler Barto

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a six-part entry series each day in which Rutgers players reflect on their first season in the Big Ten. 

Each post will cover a different topic of the season. Today, six make their case for the player who best maximized his ability. See Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4 here.

Who had the best season in 2014 given their production and skill set? Rutgers placed four players on All-Big Ten teams after a 7-5 season.

Both sides of the trenches dominated players' postseason evaluations, and for good reason. Rutgers finished in the top four in both sacks (32) and sacks allowed (19) in a league most defined by offensive and defensive line depth.

Gary Nova: "On the offensive line, I think Keith Lumpkin did a great job this year. He faced some of the top d-ends in the league, even in the nation, and he held his own and did a pretty good job. I think he's matured — I've known him forever — so that was great to see. Janarion Grant did a great job for us on special teams, and when he was asked to get in there on offense he did a great job. Obviously Leonte (Carroo) just doing what he's doing."

Kaleb Johnson: "Definitely a guy like Betim Bujari. Playing the center position, he doesn't get much of the limelight. He's done great wonders for this team with his leadership. He's really the one calling the protections and making most of the calls. He's done a great job for the offense and a lot of guys don't really notice."

Darius Hamilton: "Kemoko Turay. Kemoko's done a great job coming in and doing exactly what we ask him to do. On third downs he's done a great job. When he fills in for (David) Milewski on the base defenses he's always in the right spot, always doing what he's supposed to be doing. For someone who really doesn't understand the game of football, I would say he's done a great job."

Could Rutgers' Robert Martin be the next great back out of Harrisburg?

Michael Burton: "A guy like Leonte, Gary, Darius, you can go down the list. One guy I think that maximized was a guy like Dave, because of what he's been through. He's come back from these knee injuries and really playing his best football his senior year. He's maximized himself — being an older guy, being a captain. You can see he's getting better week in and week out."

Kevin Snyder: "Probably 91 (Hamilton). People always talk about how he's not big enough and this and that, but the dude plays hard. The dude gets off blocks against big people. Good player, man."

Leonte Carroo: "I would probably say Kemoko. As a redshirt freshman he had a pretty solid year. Coming on the scene, he did pretty well for himself."

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