DB/KR Nathan Jones

2002 Statistics

Coach: Greg Schiano
3-20, 2 years
2002 Record: 1-11
at Pittsburgh LOST 3-23
at Tennessee LOST 14-35
at Virginia Tech LOST 14-35
at Syracuse LOST 14-45
at Notre Dame LOST 0-42
at Boston College LOST 14-44

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

If Rutgers could translate off-season recruiting successes into regular season scores, things would be changing quicker during the Greg Schiano era. Despite any failures, Schiano has instilled a change in attitude on this team, and you can see it in their swagger. The Knights have been one of the most penalized teams in the nation the past two seasons. Schiano promised to turn Rutgers into a title contender, but so far the results have been awful.

Minimal improvements won't get the job done. The biggest question that has to be asked pertaining to 2002 is, with all their recent problems, why didn't they consider starting some of the younger kids, which included a good chunk of his offensive line, even once the season was (arguably) lost? Suddenly, the Scarlet Knights are a one-win team looking to reload without many experienced players to fill the blank spots created by graduation.

If there is a positive for 2003 it is the schedule. With Buffalo, Army and Navy, the Knights have a good opportunity to (at least) triple 2002's single victory win total. The season begins at Michigan State - an upset win would provide a giant launching pad for this program, perhaps even a five or six win season. We don't foresee it happening. You have to go back to 1999 to find the last time the Knights won a Big East conference game. We don't see that changing this year either. The Knights will be improved and use this year as a maturation process for its young recruits. Schiano has to find reasons to stay once this season mimics recent disastrous others. The offensive line will tell all. But, from Vineland to exit 14A, none of this is much of a surprise. Different year, same result. Please prove us wrong Rutgers, please? Losing to the Villanova and Buffalo's of the college football world every year just will not cut the mustard any more.

Projected 2003 record: 3-9
C Marty Pyszczymuka
QB - 3 DL - 2
RB - 2 LB - 2.5
WR - 2.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 1.5 ..

Passing: Ted Trump, 155-71-11, 740 yds., 4 TD

Rushing: Markis Facyson, 124 att., 398 yds., 1 TD

Receiving: Aaron Martin, 30 rec., 284 yds., 3 TD

Scoring: Ryan Sands, 5-12 FG, 18-19 PAT, 33 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: Ryan Sands, 5-12 FG, 18-19 PAT, 33 pts.

Tackles: Nathan Jones, 84 tot., 69 solo

Sacks: Raheem Orr, 4.5 sacks

Interceptions: Brandon Haw, 4 for 17 yds.

Kickoff returns: Nathan Jones, 26 ret., 28.3 avg.

Punt returns: Tres Moses, 4 ret., 18.2 avg.


OFFENSE: Aaron Martin-WR, L.J. Smith-TE, Josh Hobbs-WR, Trohn Carswell-OT, Mike Esposito-OL, Howard Blackwood-OT, Brian Duffy-OG, Ryan Cubit-QB (transferred)
DEFENSE: Will Burnett-DT, Gary Brackett-MLB, Shawn Seabrooks-FS, Mike Barr-P

written by Dave Bagchi

Rutgers runs the basic I-formation and rarely mixes it up. Like his personality, coach Schiano is determined for his team to not have to use a bag of tricks just to win games. In fact, the only gamble Schiano seemed to take was starting true freshman QB Ryan Hart in his first game against then top-ranked Miami late in the season. Rutgers returns two QBs who each started four games, senior Ted Trump and sophomore Ryan Hart. Ryan started five games total, and though his numbers were poor, he showed poise and solid arm strength. Hart has NFL potential (like alumnus Mike McMahon and Ray Lucas) and will be the man this season. So much so that junior Ryan Cubit left the team this off-season and transferred. There is depth here, too, but untested.

The Scarlet Knights have returning experience at running back. The stable is young; it is also a group that has gained valuable experience the past two ears. Quick-and-small backs Markis Facyson and junior Clarence Pittman must improve on the team's 2002 average of three yards-per-carry. Pittman has a nice burst. The prevalent theme for Rutgers will be to get the guys on the field who can produce. Marcus Jones and Jason Nugent will get their chances. Nugent is player who could effectively help the team's running attack. He has great instincts (played both ways in Canadian prep ball) and needs to be more than the special team's maven that he was last year. Nugent and Hart will provide a few steady seasons in Rutgers' backfield. Brian Leonard is a candidate for the fullback position, with Ray Pilch moving to tight end. Leonard, the all-time leading scorer in New York state high school football, moves up from last year's scout team.

On a unit that averaged just 14 points and a measly 214 yards per game, one must go to the offensive front to find this team's weakest link. All the talk about Ryan Hart is useless if the Scarlet Knights cannot shore up their pass protection. A veteran 2002 Rutgers' line allowed 51 sacks. Departures could be a blessing in disguise, or the start of it getting worse. Coaches will have their hands full molding a unit with only three returning starters. Returning up front are seniors Marty Pyszczymuka, Brian Duffy, Rich McManis, and Mike Williamson, who all drew starts last season. Pyszczymuka started all 12 games at center, and battled through a broken bone in his wrist the last half of the season. All of the newbies have size, but no starting experience. Spring will give much consideration to some of these younger guys, like sophomores Randy Boxill, William Vogt and Justin Peyton. Considering the success Schiano had at Miami with the junior college ranks, look for Rutgers to seek some help along the offensive front accordingly.

Receiver and tight end are question marks. The past two years, WR Aaron Martin has been the most dangerous player on offense. Sophomore receivers Shawn Tucker and Corey Barnes will get plenty of action. Junior Jerry Andre is a proven downfield threat that appropriately stretches defenses. Both Andre and Tucker are big targets for Hart. Barnes is more the speedster, and he should see his time limited more to three-receiver formations. TE LJ Smith will be missed - under-sized junior Chris Loomis will attempt to replace him as will starting FB Ray Pilch as he attempts to adjust to the new position. Since Schiano came aboard, Rutgers tends to use TE, so expect Loomis and backup Pilch to be called upon early and often.


QB Ryan Hart


Returning Starters in bold
QB Ryan Hart-So (6-2, 195) Ted Trump-Sr (6-2, 215)
FB Brad Cunningham-Jr (6-1, 240) Cedric Brown-Jr (6-2, 250)
RB Markis Facyson-So (5-10, 195) Marcus Jones-Jr / Clarence Pittman-Jr
WR Shawn Tucker-So (6-2, 180) Jerry Andre-Jr (6-1, 185)
WR Tres Moses-Jr (5-10, 190) Corey Barnes-So (5-8, 165)
TE Ray Pilch-Jr (6-3, 240) Chris Loomis-Jr (6-4, 240)
OT Mike Williamson-Sr (6-5, 289) Sameeh McDonald-Jr (6-5, 300)
OG Rich McManis-Sr (6-5, 310) Mike Clancy-Jr (6-4, 290)
C Marty Pyszczymuka-Sr (6-2, 280) Will Vogt-So (6-3, 285)
OG Clint Dato-Jr (6-5, 325) Randy Boxill-So (6-5, 310)
OT John Glass-Jr (6-5, 320) Dan Biernacki-So (6-4, 300)
K Mike Cortese-So (6-3, 205) Ryan Sands-Sr (6-0, 225)



written by Dave Bagchi

The improvements were minimal, but they did occur. Rutgers allowed only 38% conversion rate on third downs, and, from watching them, 2002's unit was able to frustrate opponents much more than in prior years. Schiano's defensive background finally showed in the Miami and Tennessee games. In both games, the defense was able to couple pressuring the QB and excellent coverage downfield.

Most improvements happened in the pass coverage areas and three-quarters of the starting secondary returns. Senior Nate Jones is an in-your-face cover guy. Simply put, Jones is the best player for the Scarlet Knights and one of the more underrated in the conference. A replacement must be fournd for the graduated Shawn Seabrooks, a two-time Defensive MVP. At the other corner, Brandon Hall led the Scarlet Knights with 18 pass breakups and four interceptions. Expected to start in 2003 is speedy sophomore DB Dondre Asberry and junior Eddie Grimes. Asberry was a big-time recruit for Schiano out of alumni-rich Northwestern high in Miami. This unit becomes the nucleus for any 2003 defensive schemes. If this area fails even marginally, it will be another long year in the Garden State.

Despite those minimal improvements, teams proved the way to (still) beat Rutgers is to pound them relentlessly with your running game. The Scarlet Knights allowed 207 yards-per-game and nearly five yards-per-carry. Rutgers employs 4-3 formations for most of the game. Five of the front seven on defense will return next year.

Along the defensive line, the Knights will turn to a pair of seniors for veteran leadership, DE Raheem Orr and DT Gary Gibson. Orr led the team with 4.5 sacks coming off the edge and Gibson helped solidify the middle. At the other end, Peterson has speed and can make the big plays, but has to step up for more than just eight TFLs. Joining him will be Ryan Neill with nine starts from a year ago before he was sidelined for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. The rest of the DLs will be inexperienced. Again, look for Schiano to turn to the junior college scene for help here as well as giving a shot to some incoming recruits.

At LB, seniors Brian Hohmann and Brian Bender return to lead the way after earning 12 starts each last season. Bender was able to shake the injury-bug and accumulate 81 tackles. Hohmann is recognized for a "motor" that never stops. With junior Ishmael Medley and sophomore Will Gilkison, the goal is to add bricks to a line-backing unit based on these smaller, speedier guys. Seeing how Schiano was a major part of the decision to move Dan Morgan from RB to LB at Miami; perhaps he will look to do the same with some athletes at Rutgers.


LB Brian Bender


Returning Starters in bold
DE Raheem Orr-Sr (6-4, 260) Val Barnaby-So (6-5, 270)
DT Gary Gibson-Sr (6-4, 290) Joe Henley-So (6-3, 260)
DT Luis Rivas-So (6-4, 275) Joe Giacobbe-So (6-0, 260)
DE Alfred Peterson-Jr (6-3, 255) Ryan Neill-Jr (6-3, 245)
LB Brian Bender-Sr (6-3, 235) William Beckford-So (6-1, 220)
LB Brian Hohmann-Sr (6-3, 242) Ishmael Medley-Jr (5-11, 230)
LB Will Gilkison-So (6-2, 230) Sal Fama-So (6-0, 225)
CB Nate Jones-Sr (5-10, 180) Leslie Collins-So (5-10, 180)
CB Eddie Grimes-Jr (6-0, 180) Brandon Haw-Sr (6-0, 185)
SS Jarvis Johnson-Jr (5-11, 195) Dondre Asberry-So (5-11, 180)
FS Terry Bynes-So (6-2, 210) Bryan Durango-So (5-10, 185)
P Joe Radigan-So (6-5, 240) ..




The areas that improved most under Schiano's second season in Rutgers were the special teams. KR Nate Jones returns after an All-Big East and All-American season in 2002. Jones, an NC.net 3rd team preseason All-American, averaged 28.3 yards per return with two TDs. Rutgers is extremely excited about junior PR Tres Moses. Moses averaged 18.2 yards per return in splitting 2002 duties. This year, he will be the man. Rutgers also did a great job blocking kicks last season. The kick-blocking unit blocked two punts and harassed opponents into a meager 34-yard net average.

In the kicking game, new sophomore punter Joe Radigan will shine. The one weakness still prevalent for Rutgers in the special teams was place-kicker Ryan Sands. In 2002, the senior was an awful four for eight inside 40 yards. Look for sophomore Mike Cortese to compete for this spot.