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Rutgers football recruiting updates

 – Photo by Benjamin Chelnitsky

In a world full of uncertainties, one thing remains certain: head football coach Greg Schiano has the ability to bring recruits to the Banks.

The 2020 recruitment class ranks No. 61 in the nation and No. 13 in the Big Ten, according to 247Sports.com. The recruiting class now stands at 22 members after Jack del Rio announced he entered the NCAA transfer approximately a week ago.

Headlining the list of the newest players on the Rutgers football team is four-star recruit sophomore Peyton Powell. Though he originally signed with Baylor as a dual threat-quarterback, Powell never took a snap with the Bears and entered the NCAA transfer portal a little more than a year ago. 

It is still unknown if Powell will lead the offense at quarterback, especially with the nearly dozen names on the depth chart, including graduate transfer Noah Vedral and true freshman Evan Simon. Vedral, the former Nebraska and Central Florida signal caller, has two years of eligibility. Last season with the Cornhuskers, Vedral played in five games while starting two. He completed 34 of 52 passes for 418 yards, with three rushing touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

They will need to compete with quarterbacks sophomore Johnny Langan and junior Artur Sitkowski, who both recorded starts last season. Regardless of who will be under center, there are talented receivers joining the Scarlet Knights. True freshmen wide receivers Robert Longerbeam and Ahmirr Robinson will give the quarterback plenty of options.

Another notable name is true freshman Malachi Melton, brother of senior wide receiver Bo Melton. The younger Melton originally committed to Purdue but decided on attending Rutgers instead. While in high school, Malachi spent time on special teams where his speed was on display. 

The strength of the 2020 recruiting class is something the Knights could get used to with Schiano at the helm. 

The 2021 recruiting class recently landed three-star defensive end Ryan Keeler. Also committing to Rutgers over the summer was three-star defensive end Rene Konga, who will add much needed depth to the defensive line.

The plethora of defensive recruits continues with safety Alijah Clark. Originally a three-star recruit, he is now considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com. Clark had offers from numerous schools including Penn State, Michigan and Maryland, but chose to stay in his home state. 

With Clark’s upgrade to four stars, he joins the company of outside linebacker Khayri Banton as the only four-star recruits in the class. Banton ranks as the second best linebacker in the state, according to 247Sports.com. Last season, he recorded 60 tackles, 15 of which were for a loss, as well as seven sacks. 

In order to protect whoever the signal caller may be in offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Sean Gleeson’s no-huddle offensive scheme, Schiano stocked up on talent in the trenches. Offensive tackle Tyler Needham is a prime example. 

Needham “regularly looks to finish opponents and provides knock-back which should help the line create space up front,” according to NJ Advance Media. Last year with William Penn Charter School, Needham earned All-Southeastern Pennsylvania Honorable Mention honors as well as All-Inter-Academic First Team accolades for the second year in a row. 

Anyone can speculate as to what the recruits will bring to the field, but based off of the recruits as well as the transfers, it is certain that the Knights are looking to turn themselves back into the powerhouse they were during Schiano’s first tenure.


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