PISCATAWAY, N.J. (June 5, 2014) – Led by senior Kaleb Johnson (Jacksonville, Fla.) and sophomore Steve Longa (Saddle Brook, N.J.) earning first-team recognition, six members of the Rutgers football program were named to Phil Steele’s 2014 Preseason All-Big Teams. The Scarlet Knights placed three on defense, two on offense and one on special teams.
Phil Steele’s College Football Preview is hailed as the nation’s most informative preseason football magazine and will officially hit newsstands June 24.
Johnson returns for his senior season having started the last 37 games on the offensive line, the most of any player on the roster. The veteran played left guard last season and projects to keep that spot on a unit that returns all five starters. Longa enters his second collegiate season after earning Sporting News and Athlon Sports Freshman All-America in 2013. The linebacker led RU with 123 tackles, with at least 10 stops in eight different games.
Junior Tyler Kroft (Downingtown, Pa.) notched second-team status following a breakout sophomore season. The tight end earned SI.com Honorable Mention All-America by posting team-highs with 43 receptions and 573 yards. He also had four touchdowns and was named first-team all-conference.
Taking spots on third team were both junior defensive lineman Darius Hamilton (West Paterson, N.J.) and senior linebacker Kevin Snyder (Mechanicsburg, Pa.). Hamilton led the Scarlet Knights with 11.5 TFLs last season and won the Bender Trophy for top defensive lineman at the team banquet. Snyder started all 13 games last year and has played in all 39 games during his career. He finished second on the squad with 96 tackles and collected 7.5 TFLs as a junior.
Sophomore Janarion Grant (Trilby, Fla.) emerged as a return threat as a freshman and earns fourth-team preseason recognition. He posted touchdowns on both kick and punt returns, earning second-team all-conference and Special Teams Co-MVP at the banquet. Grant became the first RU true freshman since 1998 to earn all-league honors.
Rutgers will open its 2014 season Aug. 28 at Washington State in Seattle, with the first Big Ten contest scheduled versus Penn State at High Point Solutions Stadium Sept. 13.
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