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Rutgers football's Olakunle Fatukasi, Adam Korsak selected as national award winners

Senior punter Adam Korsak was 1 of 2 Knights who earned accolades after Rutgers' win over Temple. – Photo by Ben Solomon /

After last weekend’s 61-14 win over Temple, senior linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi and senior punter Adam Korsak of the Rutgers football team earned national recognition for their part in the victory.

Fatukasi was the recipient of the Chuck Bednarik Award Player of the Week, an award given out to college football’s best defensive player, while Korsak earned Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week honors, given out to the nation’s top punter.

Fatukasi, the Far Rockaway, New York native appeared all over the stat sheet in his 2021 season debut. The linebacker registered a game-high nine tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a safety as the Scarlet Knights (1-0, 0-0) cruised to a victory last Saturday afternoon.

Fatukasi’s four tackles for loss and three sacks both marked career-highs for the senior. Moreover, the four tackles for loss was the most in one game for a Rutgers defender since Justin Francis in 2011.

“I was just playing the game, I just want to thank my defense and coach (Robb) Smith,” Fatukasi said after the game. “We prepared for this the whole summer and we got the results.”

This is the second time in Fatukasi’s career that he has earned Bednarik Player of the Week honors. The first time he received the award came after the Knights’ season-opening victory last season against Michigan State. He was also named to the preseason watch list for the yearly edition of the Bednarik Award.

Now in his fifth season at Rutgers, Fatukasi has amassed 222 tackles for his career. Following a career-best season last year, the team captain was named First Team All-Big Ten by the media. 

“I feel like it’s a great start starting 1-0,” Fatukasi said. “Now I’m going to celebrate today and then when we get back tomorrow fix the corrections because we got Syracuse next.”

For Korsak, his play on Saturday earned the senior his fourth Ray Guy Award Player of the Week of his career. In the win, Korsak averaged approximately 50 yards per kick, a career-high. In all, the punts netted the Knights an extra 25 yards in field position.

A two-time team captain, Korsak has reset the program record for net punt in each of the last three seasons. The Melbourne, Australia native has only had approximately two percent of his punts bounce into the end zone for a touchback.

“Our punter is, in my opinion, one of the best three in America,” said head football coach Greg Schiano back in the spring. “The things (Korsak) did — when you look at our net punt yardage, what we did in that team … really, really special.”

In addition to his on-the-field accolades, Korsak has earned recognition for his work in the classroom. In 2020, the punter was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team and was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. The senior is currently working towards a master’s degree in communication, information and media.

“It was a great win today because it was a hard year for all of us,” Fatukasi said after last weekend’s win. “We went through a lot of adversity and worked through it and we just went through it since winter, spring, summer, training camp and now it paid off.”

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

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