Scarlet Knights Offer JUCO Offensive Lineman

Rutgers is serious about heading to the junior college ranks to improve areas of extreme need, and that is why Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano spoke to College of the Canyons (Canyon Country, Calif.) offensive lineman Will Latu on Friday. By the time the phone call ended, Latu held an offer from the Scarlet Knights, and he spoke to about what it means.

Will Latu went from a Division II red-shirt offensive lineman to one of the most sought-after junior college prospects in a year's time, and Rutgers began the latest school to send an offer the offensive tackle's way.

Latu, who has a year remaining at College of the Canyons (Canyon Country, Calif.), received his offer during a conversation Friday with Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano.

"The last couple of days we've been going back and forth, I've been doing some research over the internet," the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Latu said. "That's all I can go by when looking at the program. I definitely could see myself being a part of a big program like that."

Although Latu hails from St. Petersburg, Fla., and was a qualifier out of Gibbs High, his knowledge of the Scarlet Knights is limited.

"The only thing I honestly know about Rutgers is (former running back) Ray Rice," Latu said. "That's it."

Latu attended Division II Northern State (Aberdeen, S.D.), but left after his first season because he was on a partial scholarship and wanted to earn a full one to a Division I school. His uncle is the linebackers coach at COC, and he has family throughout California.

"I used to fly out here all the time as a kid to see my family, so I'm used to the California lifestyle," Latu said. "It's not really that big of change for me."

Latu is well on his way toward playing Division I football, and Rutgers will have stiff competition to land him.

Latu holds 11 offers, including ones from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Oregon State, Utah and Louisville. His lone visit was to Oregon State, where he watched the spring game.

"They were the first school to offer me, so I wanted to go up there and see them," Latu said. "It was nice. I liked the area, but I was hoping to see the sun during the (few) days I was there."

Latu does not plan on visiting any schools in the summer, but plans on making official visits during and after the upcoming season. He is slated to graduate next spring, and because of his red-shirt season at Northern State, will have two years to play two seasons once he enrolls at a four-year school.

"I wish I could get to a school in January and learn the system, but everybody has their own problems," Latu said. "But if schools can wait, they know I can come in and make a difference on the offensive line."

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