How dire is Rutgers’ situation in the secondary? It’s decided the best tack to take is to slightly weaken the offensive side of the ball in order to prop up that defensive unit.
Head coach Kyle Flood announced Tuesday that wide receiver Ruhann Peele will be moving to cornerback in an attempt to add depth to a unit that’s been decimated by injuries and departures. In less than a month, the Scarlet Knights have lost starter Lew Toler to a season-ending injury while another starter, Ian Thomas, abruptly left the program to pursue a baseball career. Toler’s replacement, Nadir Barnwell, has been suspended for at least this weekend’s game following an arrest on a drunk-driving charge.
The situation prompted Flood to approach Peele Monday about a position switch. “We felt from a skill set and from an athleticism standpoint that he would be the best option,” the coach said of the freshman.
Peele’s 18 receptions are third on the team, while his 163 receiving yards are fifth. While the move is expected to be short-term, Peele, who played some safety in high school, is ready to do whatever it takes to help the team.
“I’m a football player. I’ll do what’s best for the team,” said Peele. “If (Flood) thinks it’s going to help the program this week, that’s what is going to help the program.
“I’m trying to soak up everything, learn everything I possibly can to help the team on defense this week.