Jamison, Ryan face different paths to NFL

For the first time in recent memory, two members of the Rutgers football team opted to forgo their remaining eligibility and enter the NFL Draft.

One, junior cornerback Logan Ryan, earned a first-round talent evaluation from ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper. Ryan led the Scarlet Knights in pass break-ups, finished second with four interceptions and ranked No. 2 on the team with 94 tackles.

“I hope it separates me,” Ryan said Dec. 31 of his role in run defense. “Corner’s a prima donna position, and I feel like I approached the game very blue collar-like. I want to do it all.”

Jawan Jamison announced his intention Jan. 5 after hearing he earned a third-round grade from NFL Draft personnel, according to The Star-Ledger. The sophomore running back led the Knights with 1,075 rushing yards in 2012, becoming the first back to break the 1,000-yard mark since Ray Rice in 2008.

Jamison dealt with lingering right ankle issues this season. He left the Dec. 28 Russell Athletic Bowl after aggravating an injury he first suffered Nov. 10 against Army.

The Knights struggled to establish a consistent running game with Jamison hobbled and ended the season on a three-game losing streak. Head coach Kyle Flood cited the run game’s ineffectiveness as a factor in the offense’s low-scoring numbers down the stretch.

Flood must conduct his first coaching search since taking the job a year ago after former offensive coordinator Dave Brock was hired Jan. 18 as head coach at Delaware.

But his defensive coordinator, Robb Smith, returns, albeit with a secondary losing four prominent pieces to graduation and the NFL Draft.

“I think there’s a lot of promise there,” Smith said Dec. 31. “Now we get a chance to sit down, reevaluate … see what tools they have … and get a jump on 2013.”

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow Tyler Barto on Twitter @TBartoTargum.

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