FB Brian Leonard

2003 Statistics

Coach: Greg Schiano
8-27, 3 years
2003 Record: 5-7
at Michigan State LOST 28-44
at Army WON 36-21
NAVY WON 48-27
at West Virginia LOST 19-34
at Temple WON 30-14
at Connecticut LOST 31-38
at Miami FL LOST 10-34

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are talented enough to win seven games and play in a bowl game. Coach Schiano's revitalization program is working, albeit not as quickly as some had hoped. He has taken a program that had no life whatsoever and given the fans realistic hopes. The talent level increased substantially over his first few seasons, and the program finally started winning football games in 2003. Sure, wins came against Army and Buffalo…but they were wins, nonetheless. For a program like this one, just winning games again is a good sign. And what is to be thought of '03 wins over Navy and Syracuse?

Rutgers' climb will continue. They will take advantage of an inferior schedule and begin to play to the talent level the coaches have brought in. The Big East is not exactly a monster conference anymore, and will likely feature only one top-20 team (WVU Mountaineers). Their out-of conference slate makes you hungry, for the Scarlet Knights schedule is full of cupcakes (91st in NC.net's SOS).

The young offense will excite fans on a week-to-week basis and will help overcome some of the inexperience present on the defensive side. But if they are truly "West Coast" in approach and plan to succeed this way, you will need to see the coaches call more passing than running plays. If they are again running for under 3.5 per try while rushing more than passing, all of this talent goes to waste. By the time they line up for what will be a critical Thanksgiving-day battle versus their budding rival, Connecticut, inexperience will have given way to a battle-tested toughness that will carry the Scarlet Knights to a victory (and ultimately to a bowl game?). By this time next year, the idea of Rutgers being "bowl-bound" won't seem so far-fetched.

Projected 2004 record: 5-6
DT Gary Gibson
QB - 3.5 DL - 2
RB - 3 LB - 2
WR - 3 DB - 3
OL - 1.5 ..

Passing: Ryan Hart, 398-234-19, 2714 yds., 15 TD

Rushing: Brian Leonard, 213 att., 880 yds., 9 TD

Receiving: Brian Leonard, 53 rec., 488 yds., 5 TD

Scoring: Brian Leonard, 14 TD, 1-two pt. conv., 86 pts.

Punting: Joe Radigan, 60 punts, 39.3 avg.

Kicking: Ryan Sands, 12-21 FG, 24-25 PAT, 60 pts.

Tackles: Jarvis Johnson, 97 tot., 51 solo

Sacks: Piana Lukabu, 4.5 sacks

Interceptions: Jarvis Johnson, 2 for 47 yds.

Kickoff returns: Tres Moses, 12 ret., 15.4 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Tres Moses, 22 ret., 11.4 avg., 1 TD


OFFENSE: Mike Williamson-OT, Marty Pyszczymuka-C
DEFENSE: Raheem Orr-DE, Alfred Peterson-DE, Brian Bender-LB, Nate Jones-CB, Brandon Haw-CB

In many ways, the development of the Rutgers football program has corresponded with the development of the school's young junior starting quarterback, Ryan Hart. Hart's numbers were modest by most standards, but his season was about as prolific as any the Scarlet Knights' fans have ever seen. Now, he needs to get even better. With a full season of playing within the West Coast offense under his belt, Hart will lead a balanced offense to heights never before seen on the banks of the Raritan River. The developmental drop off after Hart means that the U. of N.J. had better keep his "Garden State" butt clean.

Running Back
At first glance, 3.3 yards per carry just doesn't seem that imposing. But coming off 1.5 yards per, you'll have to excuse those Scarlet Knights fans who are excited about the club's new-found running game. The Knights held their own with their opponents for the first time in years, averaging 138.8 yards per game on the ground. All-purpose fullback Brian Leonard became a star racking up 1368 rushing/receiving yards while finding the end-zone 14 times. He, along with Big East all-freshman Justise Hairston, will finally push the team's yards per carry north of the ever-critical number - four. Marcus Facyson is a major depth factor that assures this of happening - at least (again) these three will surpass this bar.

Ryan Hart's marginal successes can be largely attributed to receivers Tres Moses and Shawn Tucker. These two (along with FB Leonard) burst upon the college football scene, each nabbing over 50 receptions. Each has great speed and athleticism, posing a threat to go the distance every time they touch the ball; and like Hart, the receiving corps will be helped by its year of experience in this West Coast-style system. They should be more comfortable with the short, quick patterns so that they can now begin to focus their attention on being threats down the field.

Tight End
Expect bigger things from Clark Harris (18 receptions as a redshirt freshman). He will lead a deep group that will feature a fierce competition for playing time. While none project to be an individual star, as a unit, they will improve upon 33 receptions. In the offense they attempt, TE catches are a prerequisite centerpiece for the entire system to work at all. More than 33 catches will be needed for Rutgers to float above .500.

Offensive Line
While the skill positions give Rutgers the appearance of a Mercedes, it is the line that may cause the offense to drive more like a Buick. But a Buick isn't bad when you've been driving a Pinto for the last decade. Consider that Rutgers surrendered 55 sacks in 2002 to go along with the aforementioned 1.5 yards per carry. Making monumental improvement, the blocking unit allowed 27 sacks and averaged 3.3 yards per carry last season. Rutgers can now line up a legitimate Division 1A lineman at every position and will probably feature four 300+ lb. linemen. One spot to keep an eye on is the center position - junior Will Vogt appeared to have the job cemented before an injury-plagued spring. Solidifying the interior of the line will be a key in sustaining anything the Scarlet Knights want offensively.

This certainly isn't your father's Scarlet Knight offense. Surprising to many who write Rutgers off before August, they have a legitimate quarterback and he's surrounded with talented backs and receivers. The most promising aspect for Rutgers' fans: chemistry. Hart, Tucker and Harris are juniors, while Leonard and Hairston are both sophomores. They've played together for a full season and they've still got plenty of time left. This familiarity will lead the offense to bigger and better things as the season moves along. A key barometer to watch will be time of possession. (Again) owning the ball for 32+ minutes per tilt will tell you whether this Rutgers squad is close to achieving what we claim they can.


OG John Glass


Returning Starters in bold
QB Ryan Hart-Jr (6-2, 195) Anthony Cali-Jr (6-5, 215)
Terrence Shawell-So (6-4, 190)
FB Brian Leonard-Jr (6-2, 230) Cedric Brown-Sr (6-2, 250)
RB Justise Hairston-So (6-1, 210) Markis Facyson-Jr (5-10, 195)
Clarence Pittman-Sr (5-10, 200)
WR Shawn Tucker-Jr (6-2, 180) Chris Baker-Sr (6-5, 200)
WR Tres Moses-Sr (5-10, 190) Corey Barnes-Jr (5-8, 165)
TE Ray Pilch-Sr (6-3, 240) Chris Loomis-Sr (6-4, 240
OT Sameeh McDonald-Sr (6-5, 300) Mike Clancy-Sr (6-4, 290)
OG John Glass-Sr (6-5, 320) Mark Segaloff-Sr (6-5, 280)
C William Vogt-Jr (6-3, 285) Joe Henley-Jr (6-3, 260)
OG Brian Duffy-Sr (6-5, 315) Clint Dato-Sr (6-5, 325)
OT Ron Green-Sr (6-6, 320) Pedro Sosa-So (6-5, 266)
K Mike Cortese-Jr (6-3, 205) Ryan Sands-Sr (6-2, 225)



Defensive Line
Rutgers has a deep unit that is short on star power but long on talent. The line's strength will be found in its interior, as a strong defensive tackle rotation will pair experienced seniors with youthful talent. Limiting the opposition's rushing game will be a big boost to this defense that held teams to a 33% conversion rate on third down. Forcing opponents into third-and-long situations will occur more often. An overall increase in the defense's athleticism should help offset the loss of Orr.

No one has ever called Rutgers LBU (Linebacker University), and they're still not going to. But things are getting better near exit 9 (on the NJ Turnpike), and for the first time in a long time, the team features a talented crop of linebackers with the speed and instincts to become real playmakers. Head coach Greg Schiano has been infusing the program with the kind of athletes that always seem missing. Juniors like William Beckford and Berkeley Hutchinson are dripping with talent and are ready to make an impact in 2003's 4.2 yards per carry allowed.

Defensive Back
The secondary is a grab-bag of experienced veterans and talented underclassmen. The ability of these newcomers to step in and assume the starting cornerback roles will go a long way towards determining the fate of the 2004 Rutgers football team. Clearly, the star of the secondary is last year's defensive MVP Jarvis Johnson. But it is a bad omen when 97 tackles out of the strong safety slot led the entire defense. Jarvis is the unquestioned leader of the D, but he will be hoping for some help from the inexperienced Scarlet Knight cornerbacks. The soft early schedule should help RU survive a few hiccups and allow their secondary to grow into a reliable unit by mid-October.

The Scarlet Knight D is going through a period of transition. It has lost a few of the stars who have made a big impact, but it has grown into a deep unit filled with major Division I-A talent. There will be road bumps of growth, and they will definitely cost the Knights a chance to contend for the Big East crown. The secondary will need to be their initial focus, for offensive coordinators will assuredly focus here until the back-seven prove they are respectable. Any holes up front/inside will spell doom. 2003 had Rutgers ranked 61st for total defense and 52nd for pass defense, so promise is here. But repeating such a poor TO-ratio (-0.5) will compromise any solid defensive results.


SS Jarvis Johnson


Returning Starters in bold
DE Ryan Neill-Sr (6-3, 245) Piana Lukabu-Sr (6-3, 235)
DT Gary Gibson-Sr (6-5, 290) Luis Rivas-Jr (6-4, 275)
DT David Harley-Sr (6-1, 330) Ramel Meekins-So (6-1, 252)
DE Val Barnaby-Jr (6-5, 270) Eric Foster-So (6-1, 225)
LB Terry Bynes-Jr (6-2, 210) Bekeley Hutchinson-Jr (6-3, 245)
LB Devraun Thompson-So (5-11, 215) Will Gilkison-Jr (6-2, 230)
LB William Beckford-Jr (6-1, 220) Brad Cunningham-Sr (6-1, 240)
Quintero Frierson-So (6-1, 215)
CB Joe Porter-So (5-9, 175) Derrick Roberson-So (5-10, 170)
CB Eddie Grimes-Sr (6-1, 180) Leslie Collins-Jr (5-10, 180)
SS Jarvis Johnson-Sr (5-11, 195) Dondre Asberry-Jr (5-11, 180)
FS Jason Nugent-Jr (6-1, 210) Jason Grant-Sr (6-1, 195)
Bryan Durango-Jr (5-10, 185)
P Joe Radigan-So (6-5, 240) Mike Cortese-Jr (6-3, 205)




The good news: the abominable Ryan Sands has moved on after being a 50-50 proposition. The bad news: there is no clear replacement - yet. Junior Michael Cortese struggled with the job during the spring, so it will be an open competition into the fall.

The job will again be in the hands of the competent Joe Radigan. This sophomore wasn't spectacular by the numbers, averaging only 39.3 yards per kick, but his youth and superior hang-time (12 fair catches) give him the promise to grow into one of the conference's best punters.

Return Game
Tres Moses gives Rutgers one of the best return-men in the conference, evidenced as the team averaged 11.8 yards per return. Coach Schiano has certainly improved the once abysmal coverage units, holding opponents to 8.2 yards per punt return and 20.2 yards per kickoff.