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Rutgers football team hires Kirk Ciarrocca as new offensive coordinator ahead of 2023 season

Head coach Greg Schiano turned to a familiar face in Kirk Ciarrocca to captain Rutgers football's offense moving forward. – Photo by

Following a search that lasted just about three months, the Rutgers football team hired Kirk Ciarrocca as their new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Ciarrocca comes to the Banks after holding the same positions at Minnesota from 2017 to 2019, and again in 2022. Ciarrocca was also the offensive coordinator for Penn State in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign but was let go after one season.

The name should be familiar to fans of the Scarlet Knights. Ciarrocca served as one of Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano’s offensive assistants for three seasons on the Banks from 2008-2010, including being named co-offensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010. During his previous time with the Knights, he coached several NFL talents such as offensive tackle Anthony Davis and wide receivers Mohamed Sanu and Kenny Britt.

Ciarrocca will look to fix up an offensive unit for Rutgers that struggled in the 2022 season. The team ranked 127th out of 131 FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) teams in total offensive yards per game, and 124th in points per game (PPG). Following a loss to Nebraska on Oct. 7, previous offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson was let go and replaced with interim Nunzio Campanile.

The Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, native will also be tasked with continuing to develop the quarterback room. The Knights’ quarterbacks were often inconsistent in 2022, with injuries playing a large part. Former four-star recruit and sophomore quarterback Gavin Wimsatt is projected to be the starter and will look to showcase his potential. Fellow sophomore Evan Simon, who played key snaps during the 2022 season, will also look to take a step forward in his development at Rutgers.

Ciarrocca brings experience and success to Piscataway, particularly in the Big Ten conference. In the 2022 campaign, he helped lead the Golden Gophers to nine wins and a Pinstripe Bowl victory.

Dating back to his first tenure leading the Minnesota offense, he helped develop quarterback Tanner Morgan, who finished his career as the Gophers’ second-leading passer in school history.

Morgan set several Minnesota passing records in 2019, including the most passing yards and total touchdown passes in a season along with the highest completion percentage and passing efficiency rating. Ciarrocca also had a hand in helping running back Mohamed Ibrahim become the Gophers' all-time leader in rushing yards.

Ciarrocca was named as a semifinalist for the Broyles Award in 2019, given to the nation’s top assistant coach. The team averaged 432 yards per game and scored approximately 34 PPG that season, finishing with an 11-2 record and seven Big Ten victories.

As for the current Knights, there is talent on the roster for Ciarrocca to develop and build on. 

Along with Wimsatt, Rutgers features a deep running back room. Freshman running back Samuel Brown V rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown in his first career start in a win over Indiana in October. Brown unfortunately suffered a season-ending injury in that game but showed great potential. Sophomore running back Kyle Monangai carried the load in Brown’s absence, including a program-record 162 rushing yards in the loss to Michigan State.

While the cupboard is not bare, Ciarrocca will still have work to do to bring the Knights’ offense to heights it has not seen in several years.

"It is great to welcome back (Ciarrocca) and his family to Rutgers," Schiano said. "He is a proven leader of men, an excellent football coach and understands what it takes to be successful in the Big Ten. We look forward to getting to work."

For more updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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