Kirk Ciarrocca returned to PJ Fleck’s Minnesota coaching staff in 2022. Could he be preparing to leave the Gophers for a second time?

According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Rutgers is “targeting” Ciarrocca to be the new OC for the Scarlet Knights. A deal is not currently complete but is expected to be finalized in the upcoming days.

Thamel reports Rutgers is expected to make a “substantial commitment” to Ciarrocca.

Ciarrocca’s connection to Fleck goes back to Western Michigan, where he was Fleck’s OC and QBs coach from 2013-16 before joining Fleck at Minnesota. Ciarrocca left for the same role at Penn State on James Franklin’s staff, but that stint lasted just one year in 2020.

Fleck’s longtime assistant does have connections to Rutgers and Greg Schiano. Ciarrocca spent 2008-10 on Schiano’s Rutgers staff, including 2009-10 as QBs coach and co-OC.

We will see if Minnesota has to replace its OC after one season back in Minneapolis. The Gophers turned in a 9-4 season in 2022 with another bowl win under Fleck.