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Rutgers Receivers Mesh With Nova This Spring

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Brandon Coleman, the top returning receiver for Rutgers, will miss spring practice following minor knee surgery. Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images.
Brandon Coleman, the top returning receiver for Rutgers, will miss spring practice following minor knee surgery. Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images.

Dropping back in the pocket this spring, Gary Nova has been seeing lots of new jerseys running downfield. Rutgers' junior quarterback has been acclimating himself to a young, green receiving corps that is trying to help the Scarlet Knights recover from a string of sluggish offensive performances that capped the 2012 season.

Rutgers' two leading receivers from last season were nowhere to be found this spring; Mark Harrison is preparing for the NFL draft and redshirt junior Brandon Coleman is missing spring practice while recovering from "a minor knee procedure." Coleman should be ready to go for the season, when he will be Nova's top target after hauling in 43 passes for 718 yards and 10 touchdowns last year.

The absence of Coleman, a redshirt junior, this spring, while not ideal, is in one way a blessing in disguise; it has given a group of young receivers plenty of opportunities to get much-needed reps, develop a rapport with Nova and learn new offensive coordinator Ron Prince's system. The extra time on the field has also provided the inexperienced wideouts with a chance to mesh with new wide receivers/tight ends coach Anthony Campanile, who worked with the defense last year.

In addition to Harrison, Nova lost his third wideout, Tim Wright, and starting tight end, D.C. Jefferson. Campanile's group lost some depth this winter with Ian Thomas and Jeremy Deering switching to the secondary, but it still had plenty of rising talent in redshirt senior Quron Pratt, junior Miles Shuler, sophomore Leonte Carroo and redshirt freshmen Ruhann Peele and Carlton Agudosi. Redshirt senior tight end Paul Carrezola is also poised to replace Jefferson after splitting time last year.

Pratt is the most experienced receiver this spring, having caught 22 balls last season, but everyone else in that group has yet to see meaningful snaps on the field. Carroo is perhaps the most promising receiver after Coleman; Carroo caught a slew of passes from Nova while the two starred at Don Bosco Prep. And who coordinated that Bosco offense? Campanile.

With Coleman, Carroo and Pratt, Nova could have a dangerous receiving corps heading into Rutgers' final season in the Big East.