Spring Surprises: Offense

Gary Nova

Spring No. 2 under coach Kyle Flood is in the books for Rutgers with a successful spring game capping things off Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium. Jobs are not won in the spring, but many players stood out on the offensive side of the ball under new coordinator Ron Prince.

Looking back at a 15-practice long spring campaign for Rutgers, ScarletReport.com ranks the five most significant performances on the offensive side of the ball. Rankings are compiled based on a player's individual improvement and its value to the offense come kickoff.

5.) Wide Receiver Carlton Agudosi -- Brandon Coleman is out with a leg injury and Agudosi, by default, was the lone "big target" for spring practice. Franklin (Somerset, N.J.) 6-foot-6 product answered the call and exceeded expectations. Agudosi became one of offensive coordinator Ron Prince's go-to guys in many drills and his unique mix of aggressiveness, size and speed have him in position to play this season.

Look for Agudosi's role to decrease with Coleman's anticipated training camp return, but not for him to fade out of the equation.

4.) Right Guard Chris Muller -- Muller did his job this spring. The redshirt freshman came in well-conditioned and instantly pushed started Antwan Lowery for time at the position. Muller practiced as the starter the final week of camp and played over Lower in the spring game.

The line changes may not be permanent, said coach Kyle Flood, but Muller trended in the right direction and is a lock to play this season according to his head coach.

3.) Left Tackle Keith Lumpkin -- Lumpkin is now a top contender to replace R.J. Dill's vacated starting job at Rutgers. The hulking St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City N.J.) product sparked changes across the board because of his emergence at left tackle late in camp. Lumpkin's balance and wing span have him lightly penciled in as the starting left tackle with Kaleb Johnson moving inside.

Lumpkin entered Rutgers raw but had two seasons of development and weight lifting before taking significant reps.

2.) Running Back Desmon Peoples -- Savon Huggins is the starting running back and will see the most time at the position. But Peoples showed everyone that Rutgers has a potential electric change-of-pace back. Peoples is the best off-tackle running back on the roster and his elusiveness made him a headache in scrimmage situations.

Fumbles remain an issue and dropped his stock slightly in the final week of camp. Flood needs a running back that can take care of the football first. Both Huggins and Peoples have a history of ball security issues.

1.) Quarterback Gary Nova -- Nova was not lights out, but it was certainly the best spring camp at Rutgers since Mike Teel's as a fifth-year senior. Nova showed better arm strength, improved accuracy and a new level of conditioning.

Finishing his sophomore year on an ugly note, Nova brought determination and focus to spring. The rest of the offense credited Nova with improved leadership qualities. The next step for Nova is to further improve his conditioning before camp and show he can have the same success when getting hit.

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