Rutgers will have big shoes to fill at tight end in 2015. Tyler Kroft, the top tight end for the Scalet Knights, will forgo his final year of eligibility and roll the dice with the 2015 NFL Draft. The school announced the decision to turn pro on Tuesday.
“It definitely was a difficult decision,” Kroft said in a statement released by Rutgers. “I didn’t have a decision made right up until the bowl game. That’s why I played that bowl game like it was just another game.”
Kroft received information from pro scouts to help make his decision. The information he received was positive enough to pass on one more year with Rutgers.
Kroft was the top tight end on Rutgers this season with 269 yards. He played a more complimentary role in the passing game this season after leading the Scarlet Knights in receiving in 2013.
Rutgers had two other tight ends record a catch this season, but sophomore Nick Arcidiacono and freshman Matt Flanagan combined for two catches for 18 yards this season.
The John Mackey Award released its 33-name midseason Watch List on Monday and, considering the state of the position in college football, this may very well be the only 33 names that meet its criteria.
We all remember the Jace Amaro fiasco last year, where the Texas Tech tight end was first deemed not eligible for the award, then granted eligibility, only to be snubbed from the finalist list despite ranking sixth nationally with 106 catches, while North Carolina’s Eric Ebron ranked second among tight ends at 62. Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins took home the 2013 trophy.
Wake Forest’s Cam Serigne leads all tight ends with 29 catches for 282 yards and one touchdown. He ranks 78th nationally among all pass-catchers, and stands as the only tight end in the top 100.
Here is the full list, presented in alphabetical order:
– Rory Anderson – South Carolina
– Kennard Backman – UAB
– E.J. Bibbs – Iowa State
– Gerald Christian – Louisville
– Evan Engram – Ole Miss
– Billy Freeman – San Jose State
– David Grinnage – N.C. State
– Connor Hamlett – Oregon State
– Mitchell Henry – Western Kentucky
– Jeff Heuerman – Ohio State
– Bucky Hodges – Virginia Tech
– Austin Hooper – Stanford
– O.J. Howard – Alabama
– Jesse James – Penn State
– Malcolm Johnson – Missisippi State
– Ben Koyack – Notre Dame
– Tyler Kroft – Rutgers
– Jimmay Mundine – Kansas
– Nick O’Leary – Florida State
– Casey Pierce – Kent State
– Joel Ruiz – Georgia State
– Tyreese Russell – Eastern Michigan
– Wes Saxton – South Alabama
– Cam Serigne – Wake Forest
– Jean Sifrin – Massachusetts
– Justin Sinz – Purdue
– Jonnu Smith – Florida International
– Randall Telfer – USC
– Eric Tomlinson – UTEP
– C.J. Uzomah – Auburn
– Clive Walford – Miami (Fla.)
– Alex Welch – Miami (Ohio)
– Maxx Williams – Minnesota
Semifinalists will be announced Nov. 17, finalists a week after that, and the winner will be revealed at ESPN’s college football awards show on Dec. 11.
Kai De La Cruz, getting the start in place of the injured DeVonte Parker, hauled in a pass from Teddy Bridgewater for a 34-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, building Louisville’s lead to 10-0. The Cardinals would extend the lead to 17-0, looking to be in firm control over Rutgers going in to the half. Instead, Rutgers got on the scoreboard late in the first half and Louisville leads the Scarlet Knights 17-7.
Bridgewater is certainly the big draw Thursday night. NFL scouts from over 20 teams are attending the game, likely to catch a glimpse of the Cardinals star quarterback. He has not disappointed thus far, completing 10 of 14 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown, although he has been picked off once. Bridgewater is not really known to be a running quarterback, but he has rushed three times for 19 yards as well. He rushed for 20 yards all of last season.
Rutgers finally found something o work with on offense, although with the help of a tipped pass that fell in the right hands. On third and seven, Gary Nova dropped back to pass but had his pass tipped over the middle of the field. The football fell in to the hands of Tyler Kroft for a first down. Later in the drive, on a fourth and three, Rutgers faked a field goal attempt, catching Louisville off guard. J.T. Tartacoff caught the Cardinals slow to react and lobbed a pas over the middle down to the one-yard line following a 26-yard completion to Kroft. Kroft would haul in a wide open pass from Nova on the next play near the back of the end zone.
This is Louisville’s chance to shine. If the Cardinals are going to remain, or enter, the national championship discussion, they could benefit from a big win tonight against Rutgers. The eighth ranked Cardinals have the eyes of the college football world on them tonight, playing on national television with little college football competition but in the shadows of an NFL game and a baseball postseason game.