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Rutgers alumni in NFL: Part 1

The Knights currently have 12 alumni in the NFL. – Photo by rutgers.edu

Known as the birthplace of college football, Rutgers has a history of producing professional players. The Scarlet Knights have produced more than 100 NFL players and currently have 12 alumni in the league. Here are 7 of those 12.

New York Giants punter Ryan Anderson

Although he went undrafted in 2018, Anderson signed his first NFL contract with the Giants in May 2019. He put up noteworthy numbers as a fifth-year senior with Rutgers in 2017. Anderson set the all-time single-season punting average record at 44.41 yards and became the first Knight to earn All-Big Ten First Team honors in the media and coaches vote.

He also holds the record for the fifth-longest kick in Rutgers history, with a 70-yard punt at Indiana. He closed out his final year with the Knights by receiving the Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year award.

New York Jets cornerback Blessuan Austin

Austin was a sixth-round draft pick in 2019 and is in his second season with the Jets. After tearing his ACL in his junior year against Nebraska, Austin became prone to knee injuries. His senior season was cut short when he re-injured his knee after playing the season opener against Texas.

Austin accumulated a total of 27 sacks through 27 games on the Banks. He was sidelined for the majority of his rookie season with the Jets by a serious knee injury. Austin was given a shot in early November 2019, and he played seven games at cornerback.

So far, Austin has shown signs of a comeback this season, as he tallied eight tackles and a forced fumble in the Jets' season opener against Buffalo.

New Orleans fullback Michael Burton

A fifth-round pick in 2015, Burton is in his sixth season in the NFL. He was drafted by Detroit, where he played from 2015-17. From there, he spent two seasons with Chicago and one season with Washington before being signed by the Saints this past offseason.

The recipient of the Paul Robeson Award for his performance on and off the field in 2014, Burton ended his senior season at Rutgers with a total of 150 receiving yards. Since joining the NFL, Burton has played a total of 66 games.

Baltimore running back Gus Edwards

A fifth-year senior in 2017, Edwards started all 12 games for the Knights at running back. With a season total of 713 rushing yards, he split the Homer Hazel MVP award and was an honorable mention selection in the All-Big Ten coaches’ vote in 2017.

Edwards led Rutgers' offense with 34 first downs and set a Knights record for most rushing yards in Big Ten play. Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Ravens in 2018, Edwards picked up 718 rushing yards his rookie season. Since then, Edwards has averaged a total of 51.6 rushing yards per game. Edwards started this season with four carries totaling 17 yards.

Lions safety Duron Harmon

He started for Rutgers in 2009 as a true freshman. By the time he finished his senior season, Harmon was named to the Big East First Team, with 119 tackles in his collegiate career.

He was selected by New England in the third round of the 2013 draft. Harmon spent his first seven years in the NFL with the Patriots before heading to Detroit this season. He racked up 175 combined tackles and 17 interceptions during his time in New England.

Cincinnati long snapper Clark Harris

After being drafted by Green Bay in 2007, Harris has spent 11 seasons in the NFL with the Bengals. He is the longest-tenured Knights alumnus in the NFL.

A former tight end with Rutgers, Harris found his place as a long snapper in the NFL. He was voted to the All-Big East First Team in his final three seasons with the Knights and is among Rutgers' all-time leaders in every receiving statistic.

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day

A fifth-year senior in 2017, Joseph-Day was the Knights’ starting nose tackle every week. He was awarded the Homer Hazel MVP award along with Edwards his final season with Rutgers.

Joseph-Day was drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Rams, and he has been named their starting nose tackle this season. His rookie season, Joseph-Day played 16 games and recorded two sacks with 44 combined tackles.

Up next:

Bills tight end Tyler Kroft

Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty

New England safety Devin McCourty

Giants cornerback Logan Ryan

San Francisco wide receiver Mohamed Sanu Sr.


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