Rutgers

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights come to Lincoln on Saturday, Sept. 23, to open Big Ten Conference play against the Huskers. Rutgers has a record 1-2 so far this season. Here are some key players to watch on the Scarlet Knights’ roster.

Darnell Davis — #59 — DL — 6 feet 2 inches — 247 pounds

Davis has been a one-man wrecking crew. After a career-high 41 tackles and two sacks in 2016, the fifth-year senior was voted a team captain by his teammates this season. Davis has recorded 17 tackles so far in 2017, the second highest on the team. That puts him on pace for 68 for the season which would shatter his previous season’s total. Last week against Morgan State, Davis had 10 tackles.

Through just three games, Davis has already matched his sack and forced fumble totals from last season. He has gotten to the quarterback twice and forced two fumbles in 2017. Davis has also recorded three and a half tackles for loss this season. Davis has played in at least 10 games every season and was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team in 2015 and 2016. With the Huskers’ offensive line struggles last week, expect Davis to have a big impact on Saturday’s game.

Kiy Hester — #2 — DB — 6 feet — 208 pounds

Hester has been an impact player for Rutgers since he first stepped on the field in 2015. A transfer from Miami, Hester has made his fair share of plays as safety for the Scarlet Knights. In 2016, he finished with 52 tackles including, six and a half for loss and three pass breakups.

Now a redshirt junior, Hester has improved his pass defense since last year. He has five pass breakups in 2017 and intercepted a pass last week against Morgan State. This gives Hester a total of six passes defended in 2017 which ranks sixth in the country. He has also recorded six tackles so far this season, three of those against the Washington Huskies, who were ranked eighth in the nation at the time.

After only starting four games and playing in eight last year, in 2017 Hester has established himself as a starter in the Scarlet Knights’ secondary. He has started all three games so far this year for Rutgers.    

Johnathan Lewis — #11 — QB — 6 feet 3 inches — 240 pounds

Even though Lewis is officially listed as a quarterback on the Scarlet Knights’ roster, he is used much more as a runner than a passer. Lewis has played in two games for the Scarlet Knights in 2017, racking 56 rushing yards. While those stats might not be eye-catching levels of impressive, his team-leading four touchdowns and 4.7 yards per carry average is. The freshman has also thrown for a touchdown. All five touchdowns came last week against Morgan State, earning Lewis Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week. Lewis only has 12 rushing attempts and two pass attempts on the season; with five touchdowns on just 14 touches, he is a threat to score every time he has the ball.

Lewis was a standout quarterback in high school. The East Orange, New Jersey native was named first team All-State in 2016 by the Star-Ledger, a New Jersey online newspaper. Lewis threw for 1,557 and rushed for 992 yards during his senior year in high school. Coming out of high school, Lewis was ranked as the best quarterback in New Jersey and the fifteenth best dual-threat quarterback in the nation by Rivals.

Kyle Bolin — #9 — QB — 6 feet 2 inches — 212 pounds

Bolin immediately established himself as a leader at Rutgers. The fifth-year senior is a graduate transfer from Louisville where he backed up Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Bolin earned the starting position at quarterback and was also voted a team captain for the 2017 season. On the team’s first drive of the season, Bolin led the Scarlet Knights on an 11-play series resulting in a touchdown.

So far in 2017, Bolin’s play has been up and down. He has thrown three touchdowns and four interceptions and racked up 516 yards in the air on 52 completions. Two of Bolin’s three touchdowns came in week one against the Washington Huskies which is by far the best team Rutgers has faced so far this season. Last week against Morgan State, Bolin threw for 140 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. Bolin has completed about 60 percent of his passes on the season.

Janarion Grant — #1 — WR — 5 feet 10 inches — 178 pounds

Grant is the leading receiver for the Scarlet Knights and is a danger in multiple facets of the game. Grant has 12 receptions for 113 receiving yards and one touchdown so far in 2017. The fifth-year senior passed 1,000 career receiving yards two weeks ago against Eastern Michigan. Grant only has two touchdown receptions in his career, one this year, but  is a real threat to score in the return game.

Grant has five kickoff returns for touchdowns in his career and three punt returns for touchdowns. Grant has totaled 2,697 yards returning kicks and added another 559 yards returning punts in his career. He is the Scarlet Knights’ all time leader in kick return yards. Grant has not found the endzone in the return game this season, but is averaging around 18 yards for each return on kicks and 13 on punts. He also has 270 career rushing yards. Grant is a versatile player who can score in many ways and could present problems for the Huskers this weekend.

sports@dailynebraskan.com