Campanile taps Johnny Langan as starter against Maryland amid Sitkowski potential redshirt
There may be some pre-kickoff jitters for interim head coach Nunzio Campanile ahead of his first game at his new post when Maryland comes to SHI Stadium tomorrow. But some of these nerves can be quelled when he gives his first offensive play calling to a familiar, but new quarterback.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Langan gets the nod to assume the starter's position against the Terrapins (2-2, 0-1) this Saturday. The announcement comes shortly after sophomore quarterback Artur Sitkowski, who was tapped into the starting lineup when graduate student quarterback McLane Carter was concussed in week two action in Iowa, met with Campanile on Thursday to voice his thoughts on potentially redshirting the rest of the season.
Campanile spent 2010 up to 2017 years serving as Berghen Catholic's head coach, where he met his future starting quarterback to lead his new regime there on the Banks.
The two had success in North Jersey, competing against some of the state's top high school programs like Don Bosco Prep, where Campanile was an offensive coordinator from 2006-2009. The head coach and quarterback helped guide the Crusaders to their first state title in 13 years, in 2017.
Langan was one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the Garden State. During his senior year at Bergen Catholic, he threw for 2,103 yards along with 23 scores. In high school, Langan was consistently rated as one of the top quarterbacks both in the state and the country. He was considered his home state's top dual-threat by ESPN Recruiting, while being slated as the 22nd best overall recruit in New Jersey, by Rivals.com.
The Wayne, New Jersey, native operates as a dual-threat under center. He scored 12 rushing touchdowns as a senior in 2017, compiling 1,452 career yards on the ground.
Sitkowski has started the previous two games for the Rutgers football team, going 40 of 67 with one touchdown in that span. Last weekend, the Scarlet Knights (1-3, 0-2) were held scoreless against No. 19 Michigan on the road. Rutgers has not scored any points against Big Ten opponents this season.
Campanile mentioned that Langan had taken some reps in Tuesday and Wednesday of practice leading up to Saturday's game against Maryland. He said that his new quarterback took all of the reps in Thursday's practice.
"I know that he's worked really hard. He had a great spring and had a great summer," Campanile said about Langan. "Just didn't get a ton of reps because of his eligibility situation. This was kind of a little bit a crash course."
Langan officially enrolled with the Knights in January and was initially rejected a transfer waiver in July, just before Rutgers would start its third training camp under former head coach Chris Ash. He appealed his transfer decision and got the all-clear, on Aug. 15, in the middle of training camp.
The next step for Campanile and his quarterback, who saw time toward the end of the Knights' season opener against UMass for his first appearance on the Banks, will be to find an offensive flow that fits for the both of them. Langan has shown that he possesses the skills necessary to burn defenders on quarterback routes.
The new interim head coach had said in his first press conference that he wouldn't change much of the offensive playbook. But, some plays incorporating both of Langan's skillsets seem almost imminent. Maybe Campanile draws some plays for Langan inspired by his time as his high school coach.
Sitkowski will still don the scarlet and white jersey, but will take to the sidelines for Saturday's noon kickoff against the Terrapins.
"We're not going to put the game on him," Campanile said. "We got to make sure we get the ball in the hands of guys that can make plays and win the game for us. That'll be (Langan's) job to distribute the ball to the right guy whether it's the run game or the pass game."
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