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Rutgers Football All-Americans

Heisman Candidate Bill Austin

Bill AustinBill Austin, a Fanwood, NJ native and graduate of nearby Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, captured the imagination of the college football community in the late 1950's. His twisting, elusive running style helped him lead the Scarlet Knights in rushing for three straight seasons.

Not blessed with great size at 5-11, 170, the speedy Austin amassed 2,073 yards rushing and scored 204 points. He was a prototype single-wing tailback who, in his day, had few peers. His 32-touchdown career ranks second in the Rutgers annals among all-time scorers and he had 13 interceptions from his defensive back position, which is one short of the all-time mark.

A member of the inaugural Rutgers Football Hall of Fame Class in 1988, Austin was a first-team AP All-American selection in 1958. The 1958 Rutgers football media guide referred to Austin as “a natural leader with an even temperament.”

The Scarlet's team captain in 1958, Austin led Rutgers to an 8-1 record with the lone blemish being a 13-12 defeat at the hands of the Quantico Marines. Rutgers fans from this era will recall that Austin was forced to sit out the Quantico Marines game with a hand injury. The Scarlet’s first undefeated season came in 1961. The 1976 team also posted a perfect record. If not for an injury suffered by the team’s best player, 1958 may have been Rutgers’ first undefeated season.

An honorable mention All-American lacrosse player for two seasons, Austin was selected by the Washington Redskins in the 1959 NFL draft.

All-American Marco Battaglia

Marco BattagliaIn 1993, Marco Battaglia caught 27 passes. In 1994, that number swelled to 58. By 1995, he was being hailed as the nation’s best tight end. Following a 69-catch, 894-yard, 10-touchdown season in 1995, there was no longer a debate as to who was the nation’s best.

He was a consensus First-Team All-America, having earned first-team honors by the Football Writer’s Association, the Walter Camp Foundation, the Associated Press and the American College Football Coaches Association and appeared on the Bob Hope Christmas Special. Battaglia was also named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year. He played in the prestigious East-West Shrine Game.

The signature game of his career came at Giants Stadium against Penn State. In a game televised nationally by ESPN, Battaglia showed the nation what he was all about. He grabbed a school-record tying 13 catches for 184 yards (third-best all-time at RU) and scored three touchdowns.

Combining speed, strength and the heart of a lion, this 6-3, 245-pounder was the second tight end taken in the 1996 NFL draft, a second-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals.

For his career, Battaglia finished with a school record 171 receptions for 2,221 yards, a figure which places him second on the all-time list. His seven 100-yard plus receiving games is also a Rutgers record.

All-American Alex Kroll

Alex KrollThe great Alex Kroll took a rather circuitous path on his way to Rutgers football stardom. The 6-2, 228-pound center excelled for two seasons at Yale before serving two years in the Army. After forming a friendship with 1957 Scarlet co-captain Art Robinson at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Kroll transferred to Rutgers.

The Leechburg, PA, native immediately gained the notice of the Rutgers coaching staff with his physical prowess, an asset that was only overshadowed by his keen intellect. The captain of the undefeated 1961 team, Kroll's senior biography in the 1961 Rutgers football media guide included the following anecdote: “his performance and leadership in 1960 helped Rutgers to a season which surpassed even the most optimistic of the previews. He has size, speed, hustle, and an uncanny ability to call defenses best equipped to stop the enemy.”

It is no small coincidence that, in his two years “On the Banks,” the Scarlet Knights amassed a 17-1 record.

An AP first-team All-American in 1961, Kroll, who was also a top-notch linebacker, was regarded as the finest center in the nation. A draft choice of the AFL's New York Titans, Kroll had a brief professional football career. However, his uncanny intelligence, leadership qualities and savvy, traits that he honed on the gridiron, have served him well in his long and prosperous business career.

A Henry Rutgers Scholar with a perfect grade-point average, Kroll served as the president and CEO of Young and Rubicam, the world's largest advertising company, and credits much of his success to his football days at Rutgers.

Kroll was a member of the inaugural Rutgers Football Hall of Fame Class of 1988, and was also selected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Heisman Candidate Ray Rice

Ray RiceRay Rice made an immediate impact on the Rutgers Football program upon his arrival "On the Banks" in 2005. A native of New Rochelle, N.Y., Rice completed his debut season as the fifth-leading true freshman runner in the nation on his way to earning Freshman All-America honors by The Sporting News. His team-leading 1,120 yards on the ground were also the most in school history by a true freshman.

In 2006, Rice carried the momentum from his outstanding freshman campaign into an even stellar sophomore season as the running back finished second in the country in rushing and was a finalist for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation's top player. Rice finished seventh in the voting for the Heisman Trophy.

He established a BIG EAST and Rutgers single-season record with 1,794 yards rushing in addition to ranking fifth nationally in scoring. Rice garnered numerous awards for his standout season including being named a Second Team All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation, Associated Press, Sporting News, Sports Illustrated.com, and Rivals.com.

All-American Eric Foster

Eric FosterAfter suffering a season-ending knee injury during what began as a bright redshirt-sophomore campaign, Eric Foster re-emerged in 2006 as one of the nation's top defensive lineman. Having tallied 30 tackles over his first two seasons, the Homestead, Fla. native, nearly doubled that figure as a junior, finishing the year with 51 tackles, including 6.0 sacks and a team-best 14 tackles-for-loss.

Foster ranked among the country's elite in both sacks and tackles-for-loss en route to earning First Team All-America honors by the Football Writers Association of America. The First Team All-BIG EAST selection was also a Third Team All-American by the Associated Press and received Honorable Mention All-America honors from Sports Illustrated.com. Named Defensive Tackle of the Year by the New Jersey Sports Writers, Foster was also the recipient of the David Bender Trophy, given annually to the top defensive lineman at Rutgers.

Foster became the first Rutgers defensive First Team All-America selection since 1976.

Rutgers YEAR-BY-YEAR All-Americans
Year All-American - Team, Organization Position

1913

Howard Talman Offensive Guard

1914

Bob “Nasty” Nash Offensive Tackle
Howard Talman Halfback
John Toohey Defensive Tackle

1915

Harry Rockafeller End
Howard Talman Fullback

1916

Al Garrett Offensive Guard

1917

Paul Robeson End

1918

Paul Robeson End

1919

Frank Kelley Running Back

1923

Henry Benkert Halfback
Homer Hazel End

1924

Homer Hazel Fullback

1931

Jack Grossman
Honorable Mention, AP Defensive Back

1949

Frank Burns
Honorable Mention, AP Quarterback

1953

Joe Daddario
Honorable Mention, UPI Center

1954

Brian O’Hearn
Honorable Mention, AP Center

1955

Bob Howard
Honorable Mention, AP Offensive Guard

1958

Bill Austin
First Team, AP Running Back

Bob Simms
Honorable Mention, AP End

1960

Alex Kroll
Honorable Mention, AP Center

Steve Simms
Honorable Mention AP Fullback

1961

Alex Kroll
First Team, AP Center, First Team, NEA, First Team, Sports Review

Steve Simms
Honorable Mention, AP Fullback

1969

Rich Policastro
Honorable Mention, AP Quarterback

1972

Larry Christoff
Honorable Mention, AP Tight End

1973

“JJ” Jennings
Honorable Mention, AP Running Back

1975

Nate Toran
Third Team, AP Defensive Tackle

1976

John Alexander
Honorable Mention, AP Defensive Tackle

Jim Hughes
Honorable Mention, AP Linebacker

Henry Jenkins
Honorable Mention, AP Defensive Back

Nate Toran
Second Team, AP Defensive Tackle

Nate Toran
First Team, Kodak Defensive Tackle

Mark Twitty
Honorable Mention, AP Wide Receiver

1978

Ed Steward
Honorable Mention, AP Linebacker

1979

Dino Mangiero
Third Team, AP Defensive Tackle

1980

Deron Cherry
Honorable Mention AP Defensive Back

Ken Smith
Honorable Mention AP Defensive Back

Kevin Kurdyla
Honorable Mention AP Offensive Tackle

Ed McMichael
Honorable Mention AP Quarterback

Tim Odell
Honorable Mention AP Wide Receiver

1982

Jim Dumont
Honrable Mention, AP Linebacker

Alex Falcinelli
Honorable Mention, AP Placekicker

1983

Jim Dumont
Third Team, AP Linebacker

John Owens
Honorable Mention, AP Offensive Guard

1984

Alan Andrews
Second Team, AP Tight End

Andrew Baker
Honorable Mention, AP Flanker

Harold Young
Honorable Mention, Defensive Back Sporting News

1985

Tyronne Stowe
Honorable Mention, AP Linebacker

1986

Tyronne Stowe
Honorable Mention, AP Linebacker

1987

Brian Cobb
Honorable Mention, AP Flanker

Alec Hoke
Honorable Mention, AP Defensive End

1988

George Bankos
Honorable Mention, AP Defensive Tackle

1988

Scott Erney
Honorable Mention, AP Quarterback

Matt O'Connell
Honorable Mention, AP Punter

Steve Tardy
Honorable Mention, AP Offensive Tackle

Eric Young
Honorable Mention, AP Wide Receiver

1992

Jim Guarantano
Honorable Mention, UPI Wide Receiver

Bruce Presley
Second Team (Freshman), Running Back Football News

1993

Terrell Willis
First Team (Freshman), Running Back
Football News, Honorable Mention, UPI

1994

Marco Battaglia
Honorable Mention, UPI Tight End

Terrell Willis
Honorable Mention, UPI Running Back

1995

Marco Battaglia
First Team, Consensus Tight End
Associated Press, Walter Camp, American
Football Coaches Association, Football
Writers Association, Football News, Pro and College Football News Weekly, UPI

2001

Alfred Peterson
Third Team, Defensive End The Sporting News

2003

Brian Leonard
Freshman Fullback College Football News

2004

Brian Leonard
First Team Fullback Pro Football Weekly

Jeremy Ito
Freshman Kicker The Sporting News

2005

Brian Leonard
First Team Fullback Pro Football Weekly

Ryan Neill
Honorable Mention Defensive End Sports Illustrated.com

Courtney Greene
Freshman Safety Football Writers Association of America, First Team College Football News, Second Team Rivals.com, Third Team Sporting News

Ray Rice
Freshman Running Back Third Team Sporting News

2006

Eric Foster - First Team Defensive Tackle
Football Writers Association of America
Third Team - AP

Brian Leonard - First Team Fullback
Pro Football Weekly, ESPN.com

Ray Rice - Second Team Running Back
AP, Walter Camp, Sporting News, Rivals.com,
Sports Illustrated.com

Jeremy Ito - Honorable Mention Place-kicker
Sports Illustrated.com

2007

Anthony Davis - Freshman Offensive Line
First Team - Sporting News, Rivals.com, , Football Writers Association of America
Second Team - College Football News, Scout.com

Eric Foster - Second Team Defensive Tackle
Sporting News

Joe Lefeged - Freshman Defensive Back
Honorable Mention - Sporting News, Scout.com

Ray Rice - Second Team Running Back
Walter Camp, AP, Sporting News, SI.com,
Rivals.com, Scout.com

2008

Kenny Britt – Wide Receiver
Third Team, Associated Press
Third Team, Phil Steele Magazine
Honorable Mention, Pro Football Weekly
Honorable Mention, SportsIllustrated.com

2009

Anthony Davis – Offensive Line
Second Team, Walter Camp
Third Team, Sporting News
Honorable Mention, Pro Football Weekly

Devin McCourty – Defensive Back
Honorable Mention, Pro Football Weekly

Mohamed Sanu – Freshman Wide Receiver
Honorable Mention, CollegeFootballNews.com

Tom Savage – Freshman Quarterback
First Team, Football Writers Association of America
Third Team, Phil Steele’s Magazine
Honorable Mention, CollegeFootballNews.com

Scott Vallone – Freshman Defensive Tackle
First Team, Football Writers Association of America
First Team, Phil Steele’s Magazine
Honorable Mention, CollegeFootballNews.com

2011

Khaseem Greene - Junior Linebacker
Third Team, Phil Steele
Honorable Mention, SI.com

Kaleb Johnson - Freshman OL
First Team (Freshman), Football Writers Association of America
Second Team (Freshman), Rivals.com 

Mohamed Sanu - Junior Wide Receiver
Fourth Team, Phil Steele
Honorable Mention, SI.com

2012

Khaseem Greene - Senior Linebacker
Second Team, Walter Camp, Football Foundation, SI.com
Third Team, Associated Press, CBSSports.com

2013

Tyler Kroft - Sophomore Tight End
Honorable Mention, SI.com

Steve Longa - Redshirt Freshman Linebacker
First Team (Freshman), Sporting News
Second Team (Freshman), Athlon Sports

BY POSTION

Quarterback
Frank Burns
Scott Erney
Rich Policastro
Tom Savage

Center
Joe Daddario
Alex Kroll
John O’Hearn

Offensive Guard
Al Garrett
Bob Howard
Kaleb Johnson
John Owens
Howard Talman

Offensive Tackle
Anthony Davis
Bob “Nasty” Nash
Steve Tardy

Running Back
Bill Austin
“JJ” Jennings
Frank Kelley
Bruce Presley
Terrell Willis
Ray Rice

Halfback
Henry Marvin Benkert
Howard Talman

Fullback
Homer Hazel
Brian Leonard
Steve Simms
Howard Talman

Tight End
Alan Andrews
Marco Battaglia
Larry Christoff
Tyler Kroft

Flanker
Andrew Baker
Brian Cobb

Wide Receiver
Kenny Britt
Jim Guarantano
Mohamed Sanu
Mark Twitty
Eric Young

End
Homer Hazel
Harry Joseph Rockafeller
Paul Robeson
Bob Simms

Defensive End
Alec Hoke
Ryan Neill

Defensive Tackle
John Alexander
George Bankos
Eric Foster
Dino Mangiero
John Toohey
Nate Toran
Scott Vallone

Defensive Back
Courtney Greene
Jack Grossman
Henry Jenkins
Devin McCourty
Harold Young

Linebacker
Jim Dumont
Khaseem Greene
Jim Hughes
Steve Longa
Ed Steward
Tyronne Stowe

Place-kicker
Alex Falcinelli
Jeremy Ito

Punter
Matt O'Connell

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