What’s next for Rutgers with 2021 on the books? Staff travel, transfer portal, more


Take two.

Rutgers has reached the offseason. And yes, we said that a few weeks ago before the Gator Bowl offer fell from the sky. But it will stick this time. The Scarlet Knights’ 38-10 loss to No.20 Wake Forest on New Years Eve in Jacksonville was undoubtedly the end of the road.

Now is the time for Rutgers to rest before classes resume later in January and the offseason schedule begins, with spring training likely starting in late March. But that doesn’t mean the Scarlet Knights will stand idly by. There are still several unanswered questions facing the program as it enters Greg Schiano’s third season.

Here’s a rundown of what to watch out for in the coming weeks:

Staff changes. Schiano will make at least two hires this offseason. Rutgers are looking for a new defensive coordinator with Robb Smith now at Duke. And special teams coordinator Adam Scheier is not expected to return in that role (he could be retained in an off-field role).

The first indications are that Schiano will likely make an outside hire to replace Smith. An overview of the candidates can be found here. Scheier’s development suggests that Schiano will overhaul his staff in 2022 and dispense with a special team-specific trainer. Scheier’s units excelled and the fact that he could stay with Rutgers indicates that this was a decision made based on changing philosophy, not performance. Further staff changes beyond the known two could be possible with several coaches reaching the end of their initial two-year contracts in February.

Upload additions to the portal? The Scarlet Knights have been linked with several transfers since the end of the regular season, but all have ended up signing elsewhere. Rutgers still thinks he has a few transfer spots available and he certainly still has positioning needs – especially on the wide receiver, linebacker and on the offensive line – so look for the Scarlet Knights to stay active and more on new ones. targets. Fans should temper their expectations for portal mics, however. While Rutgers’ Portal Class of 2020 has been a runaway success, the 2021 group’s contributions over the past season have been limited.

No more transfer gate departures? There are two big waves of the transfer portal every year: players tend to flock to the portal right after the end of spring training nationwide and right after the regular season. But the first days of the spring semester are also critical, as Rutgers is well aware.

NCAA rules allow schools to cancel an athlete’s scholarship once they enter the transfer portal. Rutgers doesn’t have a defined policy as a department, athletic director Pat Hobbs told NJ Advance Media, and Schiano also said he’s working on a case-by-case basis. But if an athlete shows up to campus for the offseason program, their scholarship is blocked for the semester. The Scarlet Knights are therefore not yet out of the danger zone for a surprise start like Jonah Jackson in 2019 or Mike Maietti in 2020 – two extraordinary linemen who jumped into the portal at the end of January.

Late recruitment surprises? Union four-star cornerback Davison Igbinosun, who retired from Rutgers in October, remains on the board. He is due to announce his decision at the All-American Bowl on January 8. All signs were pointing to Ole Miss, but maybe he’ll surprise and re-enter the fold to join his older brother Desmond at Rutgers?

New program. Rutgers’ non-conference dates are on hold – the September 3 season opener at Boston College, the September 10 home opener against Wagner, and a September 17 game at Temple – but nothing other is. The Big Ten is expected to completely revise the 2022 schedule soon. The Scarlet Knights’ opponents and locations won’t change, but the dates will.

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James Kratch can be contacted at [email protected].

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