B1G shoes to fill: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers is coming off a 4-8 season that was defined by off-field incidents, missteps and disappointment.

But it now has a new head coach in Chris Ash, a new athletic director in Patrick Hobbs and a new lease on hope for the future. The Scarlet Knights earned a bowl berth during their first season in the Big Ten, and they're hoping to return to the postseason once more in 2016. But, to get there, they'll have to overcome some key losses from the 2015 squad.

Continuing with our series on "B1G shoes to fill," here's a look at Rutgers' biggest departures and their replacements:

B1G shoes to fill: Leonte Carroo, WR

Why: Sure, Carroo saw limited time last season after starting just six games and playing in parts of eight games. But there's no denying just how valuable he was to the Scarlet Knights. Despite seeing limited time, he still led the team in receptions (39), receiving yards (809) and touchdowns (10). He was also the only Rutgers offensive player to earn All-B1G honors and was named team MVP. Forget the Big Ten; few players across the country did as much as Carroo in only six starts.

Replacement candidates: Carlton Agudosi (6-foot-6, 220 pounds, redshirt senior), Janarion Grant (5-11, 170 pounds, senior), Andre Patton (6-4, 200 pounds, senior)

The skinny: Agudosi stepped up last season when Carroo was out of the lineup, but it's really Patton and Grant who probably will see most of the targets. Patton was the No. 2 receiver last season with five fewer catches than Carroo but nearly half the yards (432), and Grant was a special-teams playmaker who actually finished with 35 catches but only 352 yards. Grant should be a better fit in Rutgers' new spread offense; he's undoubtedly athletic, as he pulled off four return touchdowns last season.

B1G shoes to fill: Keith Lumpkin, LT

Why: The good news for Rutgers? Lumpkin is the only departing offensive lineman. The bad news? He was probably the Scarlet Knights' best offensive lineman; he actually won the end-of-season team award as the team's top offensive player in the trenches. He was also a three-year starter and an honorable mention on the All-Big Ten team. He wasn't flashy, but he helped anchor a respectable rushing attack. Rutgers finished No. 39 nationally last season in tackles-for-loss allowed.

Replacement candidates: Tariq Cole (6-7, 320 pounds, redshirt sophomore), Zack Heeman (6-7, 295 pounds, redshirt sophomore)

The skinny: OK, so technically, someone like starting right tackle J.J. Denman has the ability to take over for Lumpkin at left tackle. The point here is that Rutgers will need to find one new starter on the offensive line. And chances are -- as long as the guards stay put -- that the battle will feature Cole and Heeman. And both bring quite a different set of experiences and body types to the table. Heeman couldn't hit the 300-pound mark last season; Cole once topped 400 pounds. Cole is an intriguing prospect, but some shuffling is possible on this offensive line. A lot could happen in the spring.

B1G shoes to fill: Steve Longa, OLB & Quentin Gause, OLB

Why: Longa led the team in tackles for three straight years and was named Rutgers' defensive MVP last season. Gause was a team captain who played in 50 straight games over his career -- becoming just the 21st Rutgers player to hit that mark -- and an honorable mention on the all-conference team. In short, these two were the most consistent playmakers on the defense. They were team leaders with 61 combined career starts.

Replacement candidates: Najee Clayton (6-2, 205 pounds, sophomore), Greg Jones (6-foot, 205 pounds, redshirt senior), Eric Margolis (6-4, 225 pounds, redshirt sophomore), Kevin Marquez (6-1, 245 pounds, redshirt senior), Deonte Roberts (6-1, 220 pounds, sophomore), T.J. Taylor (6-3, 205 pounds, redshirt junior)

The skinny: According to NJ.com, Clayton could be moving from safety and might just win out the weakside spot. It's not hard to see why. Former coach Kyle Flood previously referred to Clayton's potential as "tremendous," and it says a lot about Clayton when he missed most of training camp last season due to clearance issues -- but still played as a true freshman. Still, these spots are far from settled. Roberts started one game last season as a freshman and could win a job, and Taylor improved leaps and bounds in 2014 before suffering a torn ACL last season. He's also in the mix. And don't forget about Margolis or Marquez, either, who both backed up Gause in 2015. There's a lot to sort out in the spring.