Rutgers LB Steve Longa Declaring For NFL

Rutgers linebacker Steve Longa will forego his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft, and he spoke to Scout about it.

Steve Longa started 37 games in his Rutgers career, and he could have challenged for 50 career starts but instead will look to begin anew.

Longa, who led the Scarlet Knights in tackles in each of the last three seasons, told Scout he is foregoing his final season at Rutgers and is entering the NFL draft.

"I talked to myself and answered one question, 'Are you ready to play at the next level?' " Longa said. "That one question cleared everything out for me. I was able to answer it, and ever since I answered it to myself, I never went back. Ever since I made the decision, I never went back on it. I feel confident I can play on the next level, so that is why I made the decision."

Longa, who is 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, was an all-Big Ten honorable mention pick by the coaches in 2015 as a red-shirt junior. He was a third-team all-Big Ten selection by the media. He said he spoke numerous times with new Rutgers coach Chris Ash about his decision.

"I talked to coach Ash all last week, all the way to Sunday," Longa said. "We talked and we had a great conversation. He's a very intelligent man. He has football smarts. His resume speaks for itself. We had great conversations and I wish him the best. I know they're going to do well."

During the last year, the physical toll on Longa showed. He missed games due to injury for the first time in his career. He started 13 games in each of his first two seasons, and started 11 in 2015. 

One thing Longa will offer in the NFL is versatility. At Rutgers, he played middle and weakside linebacker, and wherever he lined up, he made a bundle of tackles. He finishes his Rutgers career with 325 tackles. He made 117 tackles this season. His top season was his red-shirt freshman one in which he 123 stops.

"I got so much out of Rutgers," Longa said. "I left from my parents house at 17, and my dad trusted Rutgers to take over me because I was basically going to live there and spend four to five years of my life. When I got to Rutgers I was very young in all aspects of my life.

"I've been surrounded by great people. (Former) coach (Kyle) Flood, a great person. I talked to him many a times and he gave me a lot of advice. (Former strength) coach (Jeremy) Cole, always on me, never let me take a day off. (Former linebackers) coach (Bob) Fraser, who came in two years after I got there and helped build me and tried to get the best out of me on and off the field. The academic staff, (Miss) Jenna (Beverly) and Scott Walker, they were always making sure I was always doing my school work and pushing me to always get the best grade."

Longa, who said he is five classes shy of graduation, said he is yet to sign with an agent, but will do so shortly.

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