Moments before the first kickoff of the new season, Rutgers placed a well-timed public relations statement in the wild where it would surely be lost in the shuffle. In it, Rutgers announced it has dismissed five players recently arrested and charged with assault.
Nadir Barnwell, Dre Boggs, Ruhann Peele, Delon Stephenson and Razohnn Gross have all been dismissed from the program, effective immediately. Barnwell is the one connected to the ongoing investigation of head coach Kyle Flood with regard to alleged direct contact of a professor to discuss Barnwell’s eligibility. Stephenson was listed as a starting free safety for the Scarlet Knights. Both Boggs and Peele were listed as potential starters at defensive back (both appeared on the same spot on the depth chart with “or” between them). Barnwell also had starting experience with the program, which adds to the size of the dent in the defensive secondary depth for Rutgers. That means Rutgers is losing four possible starters from its defense.
Rutgers should manage to get by Norfolk State this afternoon, but the losses in the secondary will be a much larger problem in the coming weeks. Rutgers hosts Washington State next weekend, with Mike Leach and his Cougars always opting to go through the air. Rutgers will hope to have the secondary in better shape when it heads on the road to open the Big Ten season the following week. Rutgers visits Penn State, with quarterback Christian Hackenberg hoping for a bit of a rebound season this fall.