Brian Leonard did not make the top 5.
It is a very complex answer, and highly subjective, but it stems from the category title. If it were most important players in Rutgers history, he could be the top guy.
However, this list is top 5 players, and keep in mind during his senior season he was moved from the tailback position so Ray Rice could carry the ball. And this is not to say Leonard is not good, or not a wonderful player, but Rutgers has been playing football longer than anyone besides Princeton, so there are plenty of names that will not make the top 5.
Now, with the disclaimer out of the way, here are the top 5 players in school history.
5. Howard Talman (1912-15): It was an early time and football was just beginning to take hold, but there is no denying Talman's dominance as one of the best players of his era. He played four seasons with Rutgers, and three times he was named an All-American, and it came at three positions.
Talman first made his mark as an offensive guard, then a tailback, and then a fullback. In those three seasons, Rutgers went18-7-1.
4. Homer Hazel (1916, 1923-24): One of three former Rutgers players in the college football Hall of Fame, Hazel had a unique career in which he played one season, then returned to the field in his late 20s to compete again for the school.
He was a two-time All-American, and did it at a pair of positions. He was an All-American end in 1923, and an All-American fullback in 1924.
3. Alex Kroll (1960-61): Long-time watches of the program are quick to point out center Alex Kroll was the cornerstone of the school's first undefeated team, going 9-0 in 1961. However, he was also instrumental the year prior, leading the Scarlet Knights to an 8-1 record, the lone blemish a 14-12 loss to Villanova.
Kroll is a member of the college football Hall of Fame, and was a consensus All-American on the 1961 squad
. 2. Paul Robeson (1915-18): A member of the college football Hall of Fame, he was a two-time All-American as an end and led Rutgers to a 22-6-3 in his four-year career.
But he is better known for his social stature as an actor, lecturer and singer, and also won 12 varsity letters. He received four in football, three in basketball and baseball and two in track.
1. Ray Rice (2005-07): No one did more to elevate Rutgers into a national name than Rice, whose school rushing record (4,926 yards) is 1,800 more than anyone else. He also set school records for rushing attempts (910), rushing touchdowns (49), 100-yard games (25), 200-yard games (6) and consecutive 100-yard games (8).
And, he did it all in three years before leaving for the NFL.