This week we'll be sorting through the roster of each Big Ten team to search for the biggest gaps that need to be filled in the 2016 and how each coaching staff is working to address them during the final weeks of recruiting season. Next on the list is Rutgers.
Biggest need for 2016: There isn't a perfectly clear answer to Rutgers' weak link heading into the 2016 season. The Scarlet Knights' new coaching staff needs reinforcements in several areas. The best foundations for program success are built in the trenches, so that's a good place to start.
On the other side of the ball, Rutgers loses its cornerstone on the line with left tackle Keith Lumpkin off to the NFL. The other four starters return, but it's time for Ash and company to start doubling down on depth for the future at a critical position.
Rutgers finished with a middle-of-the-pack rushing attack (169.9 yards per game), but averaged less than 80 yards in game against Penn State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Nebraska. The 2015 offense didn't lack capable running backs. To close the gap on some of the conference's top teams and run the power spread that offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer learned at Ohio State and Houston, they'll need to get a more consistent push up front.
How the 2016 recruiting class might help: Offensive line is a tough position group to recruit for needs, especially if there is an immediate need. It typically takes time for those prospects to adjust to the college level with strength and fundamentals.
Rutgers is trying to build some depth and competition with the 2016 class with a few offensive line commits.
The previous staff was able to land four commitments in the 2015 class, which could also provide some help as those players have been on campus for a year now. That list included Jack Shutack, Jonah Jackson, Zach Venesky and Manny Taylor.
The new staff has a lot of work ahead of them along the offensive line and a few other positions as well. This first partial class might not be the big fix needed at Rutgers, but it could be the start to get the ball rolling.