PISCATAWAY, N.J. (June 16, 2014) – Five members of the Rutgers football team were named Preseason All-Big Ten in a release by Athlon Sports. The Scarlet Knights have two from offense, two from defense and one from special teams on the list.
“An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014,” the release states. “Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.”
Both senior Kaleb Johnson (Jacksonville, Fla.) and junior Tyler Kroft (Downingtown, Pa.) notched second-team honors to represent the offense. 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. Kroft earned SI.com Honorable Mention All-America by posting team-highs with 43 receptions and 573 yards from the tight end position. He also had four touchdowns and was named first-team all-conference.
Sophomore Steve Longa (Saddle Brook, N.J.), who led RU with 123 tackles last season, picks up a spot on the second-team defense at linebacker. His play earned him Sporting News and Athlon Sports Freshman All-America in 2013. Junior defensive lineman Darius Hamilton (West Paterson, N.J.) also represents the defense on the third team. He led the Scarlet Knights with 11.5 TFLs last season and won the Bender Trophy for top defensive lineman at the team banquet.
Junior Kyle Federico (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) collects a spot on the fourth team as a specialist. The kicker made eight of his last 10 field goals last season, including three in three tries at the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. He totaled 70 points on the year.
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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