As the Rutgers Scarlet Knights prepare to make the transition to the Big Ten in 2014, they will be looking for some playmakers to step up and help spark their offense. With Gary Nova back under center, Rutgers need to get some production from other spots, particularly the running game. Could Paul James step in and break the 1,000-yard barrier to lead the offense?
Last season, James came close to breaking the mark while struggling with injuries. In the first four games of the year, James rushed for 573 yards before missing the next four games with injury. He finished the year with 881 yards on 156 carries with nine rushing touchdowns. If he had been able to play in every game last season, there’s little doubt he would have broken the 1,000-yard mark with ease.
This year, James is a very strong candidate to be among the Big Ten’s leading rushers. The Knights need a stronger presence in the running game after averaging just 129.54 yards per game on the ground, only good for seventh best in the AAC last season. As they move on to the more rugged Big Ten, Rutgers has to find some balance with the running game and keep the offense on the move.
James, if healthy, has the ability to be a major difference-maker in 2014. As the work-horse back for Rutgers this fall, he’ll be in line to easily eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. His success will be directly tied to how successful the Knights’ offense is next season. Will he carry Rutgers to the top in 2014?