PISCATAWAY, NJ – Four freshman members of the Rutgers football team were named to the 2003 Sporting News BIG EAST All-Freshman Team, as announced today by the publication. Three offensive players – wide receiver Marcus Daniels (Miami, FL), tight end Sam Johnson (Midland Park, NJ) and running back Justise Hairston (New Britian, CT) earned the distinction, along with defensive back Derrick Roberson (Oakland Park, FL).
Daniels, a 6-2, 195-pound wide receiver, caught 15 passes for 157 yards in 2003. He saw his playing time increase as the season progressed, as he caught six passes for 51 yards over the last two games of the season. Daniels’ best effort of the season came in a 30-14 win over Temple (10/25), when he caught four passes for 49 yards, both season highs.
Johnson, a 6-4, 240-pound tight end, caught four passes for 40 yards, including one touchdown, and served as a capable blocker for Rutgers this season. His first collegiate catch was a memorable one. He hauled in a seven-yard TD pass from Ryan Hart at Michigan State on Sept. 6. He also had a season-long reception of 18 yards at Connecticut on Nov. 8.
Hairston, a 6-1, 210-pound halfback, rushed for 550 yards on 137 carries in 2003 (4.0 yards/carry), despite missing four games with a knee injury. Hairston ran for 88 yards on 19 carries in his collegiate debut, a 24-10 win over Buffalo on Aug. 30, and broke for 161 yards and four touchdowns in RU’s 48-27 win over Navy on Sept. 27. The 161 yards were the most ever by a true freshman in Rutgers history. He also ran for 115 yards at West Virginia (10/11) and 75 vs. Pittsburgh (10/18) before leaving in the third quarter and missing the next four contests. Hairston also scored eight touchdowns.
Roberson played in all 12 games and amassed 14 tackles (10 solo, 4 assisted) from his cornerback position. He had a season-high six tackles at Temple (10/25) and finished the season with four in RU’s win over Syracuse on Nov. 29. Roberson played a key role on special teams as well for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers posted a 5-7 mark in 2003, the most wins since the 1998 season, and picked up two BIG EAST wins, also the most since '98.
2003 Sporting News Big East All-Freshman team
Offensive freshman of the year: Ryan Moore, WR, Miami
Defensive freshman of the year: Brian Bennett, LB, Pittsburgh
WR Ryan Moore, 6-3, 205, Miami*
WR Marcus Daniels, 6-2, 195, Rutgers
TE Sam Johnson, 6-4, 240, Rutgers
L (G) John Simonitis, 6-3, 300, Pittsburgh*
L (G) Josh Beekman, 6-1, 318, Boston College*
L (G) Dan Mozes, 6-3, 290, West Virginia*
L (C) Jeremy Hines, 6-2, 285, West Virginia*
L (G) Brandon Gore, 6-5, 332, Virginia Tech*
QB Marcus Vick, 6-0, 203, Virginia Tech*
RB Justise Hairston, 6-1, 210, Rutgers
RB Tyrone Moss, 5-10, 210, Miami
L (E) Baraka Atkins, 6-4, 255, Miami*
L (E) Noland Burchette, 6-2, 240, Virginia Tech*
L (E) Pat Liebig, 6-3, 260, West Virginia
L (E) Bryan Pata, 6-4, 260, Miami
LB Brian Bennett, 6-0, 215, Pittsburgh*
LB Kelvin Smith, 6-2, 231, Syracuse*
LB Aaron Rouse, 6-3, 203, Virginia Tech*
DB Derrick Roberson, 5-10, 170, Rutgers
DB Terrell Lemon, 5-10, 168, Syracuse*
DB Ryan Glasper, 6-0, 180, Boston College
DB Ryan Gore, 6-0, 205, Temple*
K Jon Peattie, 6-3, 200, Miami*
P Brendan Carney, 6-5, 188, Syracuse*
KR Devin Hester, 5-11, 184, Miami