Rutgers’ coaching transition in late September coincided with a quarterback switch.
Over the same week that the school fired coach Chris Ash, its starting quarterback revealed his intention to sit out the rest of the season.
Sophomore Artur Sitkowski plans to redshirt this season and cannot appear in more than four games under NCAA rules. The decision led interim coach Nunzio Campanile to select Johnny Langan, a redshirt freshman, as the replacement.
In an otherwise forgettable year, with the Scarlet Knights bound for a fifth straight losing season, Langan has come to mark a bright spot, a sign of some depth in their quarterback room.
Langan has started the last five games, and was named co-freshman of the week by the Big Ten after he rushed for 118 yards in a win over Liberty on Oct. 26. It was the most rushing yards in a game by a Rutgers quarterback since 1951. He also completed 15 of 21 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
In his transition into the starting role, Langan has looked more comfortable as a runner than as a passer. He averages as many carries (11.5) as throws (11.1) per game.
Langan is agile enough that a potential switch was considered when he was a freshman last season at Boston College.
He ultimately transferred to Rutgers after one season, filing a hardship waiver, one that was initially denied by the NCAA before being granted in August, two weeks before the season.
The transfer allowed him to return to his home state. He attended Bergen Catholic, the New Jersey high school powerhouse, and helped lead the Crusaders to a state championship during his senior season in 2017.
It also reunited him with Campanile, who was the coach at Bergen Catholic before he was hired as an assistant for the Scarlet Knights last season.