Giovanni Rescigno starts off fall camp as starter, emerges as leader in quarterback room
The Rutgers football team went through its first practice as a full team on Monday morning, its first time in the public spotlight since the team's spring game in April.
The most anticipated story line of camp will be the competition at quarterback. Incumbent starter Giovanni Rescigno started the last five games in 2016 and will have to fend off graduate transfer Kyle Bolin and true freshman Johnathan Lewis.
While nothing is set in stone for the Sept. 1 opener against Washington, head coach Chris Ash named Rescigno the starter after the first day of camp.
"Gio's the first team quarterback," the second-year head coach said. "Gio earned that right through his play this spring."
That right includes taking all of the first team reps in certain team drills, although he did split time with Bolin in a passing drill early on in practice.
Rescigno spent most of the spring as the only scholarship quarterback on the roster due to three transfers and redshirt senior Zach Allen suffering a torn ACL. His performance during those 15 practices coupled with his play last season have him ahead in the competition.
And as he enters his fourth training camp, Rescigno will be working with his fourth different offensive coordinator. After Drew Mehringer bolted to take a position with Texas, former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill stepped in to take over the Scarlet Knight offense.
Rescigno praised Kill for his experience and knowledge that he has been able to lend to the quarterbacks in his short time on the Banks.
Although Kill has not seen a lot from his quarterbacks after one day having them all out the field, he did speak on what he has seen from them as a whole throughout the summer.
"I've got a good room of smart guys, guys who wanna learn," he said. "They're willing to put in the work that it takes to play quarterback ... it's been a joy to work with them."
That room looks a lot different than it did last year, as Hayden Rettig, Chris Laviano and Michael Dare all transferred out of the program, leaving Rescigno as one of the veterans as opposed to this point last season, when he was an underclassmen trying to claw his way up the depth chart.
Him and Allen are the only two carryovers from a season ago and have become good friends in the process.
When Allen tore his ACL in the spring, it left his senior season up in the air. But when he decided to forgo surgery to play his final year, it injected a bit of juice into his fellow signal callers.
"The kid is an absolute grinder," Rescigno said of Allen. "I'm happy to call him one of my good friends. To see him out there taking reps after what happened was unbelievable."
So while the quarterbacks dive deep into what could be a four-week competition to see who gets the first snap against Washington, they continue to help each other as much as they can, with Rescigno as the leader.
"I think we had a really good summer together all of us," Rescigno said. "We're learning more about each other in terms of on the football field and as people in general spending more time together."