18 in 18: OLB Steve Longa

The first wave of Rutgers football incoming freshmen are a week away from enrollment for summer classes. Getting ready for training camp, ScarletReport.com is happy to bring back its freshman "18 and 18" series. To continue the daily feature, ScarletReport.com spoke to outside linebacker Steve Longa, who has his sights set on early playing time.

Saddle Brook (N.J.) High outside linebacker Steve Longa is four weeks away from the start of his college career at Rutgers and his goals are clear.

Longa wants to make an immediate impact and help Rutgers win a Big East championship this season.

"I'm definitely ready [to play]," Longa said. "They told me they think I can play and that's all I need. It's just on me now. I just have to work as hard as possible to get on that field. I have to do my part to get a chance to play."

Going from Group I Saddle Brook to a BCS program does not concern Longa, he said. A step up in competition is something he feels ready to conquer.

"Football is football," Longa said. "The level of competition is going to be different, but I remember back when I was being recruited, I had to go to camps to prove the big-time schools wrong that I can play on any level.

"This is going to be the same thing. They're human beings. I'm a human being. They played high-school football. I played high-school football. They got a D-I scholarship, I got a D-I scholarship. There won't be much of a difference. I just have to work hard and be confident in what I can do. That's it."

The current Rutgers depth at linebacker is questionable, leaving room for a freshman to step in immediately if ready.

Behind two established veterans and impressive young guns Jamal Merrell and Kevin Snyder, there is zero experience at the position. Quentin Gause red-shirted last season and Robert Joseph is a converted fullback.

"There's nothing stopping me," Longa said. "The only thing is the work you have to put in to play and I plan on going 100 percent all the time. I'm ready right now. I trained hard all spring long. Let's do it."

Longa is a part of the main crop of incoming freshmen, enrolling June 24 for the second summer session.

"I can't wait to get out of high school and go on to the next level," Longa said. "It's going to be everything. A big deal when I started playing football was I wanted to play college football. I worked very hard and now it's just like a month away. A month and what, four days away from college football."

Longa was one of three players to announce a verbal commitment in a span of 15 minutes on the eve of National Signing Day. When Darius Hamilton announced his commitment on live television, Longa and linebacker Quanzell Lambert re-affirmed their verbal commitments immediately following.

Longa, in fact, did it via phone call with Hamilton still on the air on MSG Varsity.

"We've been close for a long time and I can't wait to be their teammate," Longa said. "When coach [Greg[ Schiano left, we all were tight. We all bonded together and I can't wait to play together. Me, Quanzell, Darius on defense is going to be awesome."

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