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.
Well, I suppose now we know what all the commotion was about at Rutgers practice today.
Of the four Rutgers students and two former students charged today with assaulting a group of individuals, five are Rutgers football players and another is a former player. The assault left one student with a broken jaw and the attack was reportedly unprovoked. A total of nine defendants were arrested today, and one more is still to be arrested. Five players confirmed to have been charged are defensive backs Ruhann Peele, Nadir Barnwell, Dre Boggs and Delon Stephenson and fullback Razohnn Gross. Barnwell is the player linked to the separate ongoing university investigation of head coach Kyle Flood, who was allegedly contacting a professor about Barnwell’s eligibility status. Boggs and Stephenson were projected starters for Rutgers this weekend. All five of the current players have been suspended from the program while the legal process develops.
The former player arrested was Tejay Johnson, who was charged with robbery, criminal restraint, theft, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Johnson’s career was cut short due to injury in 2014 prior to Big Ten media days.
According to a report from NJ.com, the arrests come as a result of an ongoing investigation by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Brunswick Police Department. The investigation commenced in the spring following a reported home invasion in New Brunswick. Per the report, three men wearing masks forced their way into the home and left with an undisclosed amount of cash and marijuana as five students were held at gunpoint.
At this point there has been no statement from Rutgers regarding this latest news, although this post will be updated as soon as there is a statement to share.