Signing Day Rewind: Scouting the Defense

Rutgers added 17 scholarship players on National Signing Day, addressing the majority of its positional needs. The Scarlet Knights signed nine players projected on the defense side of the ball and is here to break down the lot.

To get more familiar with the eight additions for the Rutgers defense, compiled scouting reports from publisher Sam Hellman and Northeast recruiting analyst Brian Dohn.

Player names are followed by their school -- height/weight.

DT Josh Klecko:

Red Bank Catholic – 6-2/260

Dohn: "The first thing that comes to mind with Klecko are his exceptional hands, and offsets his measurable, which aren't great. He is comfortable getting off blocks and also understands schemes."

Hellman: "Klecko is as technically sound as a high-school football player can be, with quick hands and the ability to eat space beyond his size. Klecko will have to bulk up to make an impact, but his family history shows that playing undersized can be done at a high level."

DE Eric Wiafe

Egg Harbor Township – 6-4/250

Dohn: "The lack of experience for Wiafe is what holds him back. He is thick and strong, and he should become a solid nose guard. He can withstand getting hit, but he needs to play with a much lower pad level and show an ability to continue on plays."

Hellman: "Wiafe will take time to develop, but his body type and physical tools make him a versatile lineman that can provide depth at multiple positions. Right now, he is expecting to start as a defensive end, but could also fit in at nose guard or on the offensive line."

DT Sebastian Joseph

Stroudsburg (Pa.) – 6-4/270

Dohn: "Joseph may be a better offensive lineman than defensive tackle, but he is one heckuva defensive tackle. He is long, has tremendous get-off and he is strong. Rutgers has depth at defensive tackle, but he has a chance to play as a freshman."

Hellman: "Joseph may be the steal of the class for Rutgers. He'd be a 20-offer kid if he were more involved in camps and in getting exposure, but he quickly latched onto Rutgers after an offseason camp. Rutgers is getting a freakishly athletic interior lineman with the right type of personality. His length and violence off the snap make him an exciting prospect."

DE Kemoko Turay

Barringer High (Newark, N.J.) – 6-4/200

Dohn: "The catch-phrase with Turay is he is like Jason Pierre-Paul, which means he started playing football late and has a world of potential. But unlike Pierre-Paul, Turay has yet to prove it. So just look at him as a kid with elite talent, an incredible burst and tremendous athleticism."

Hellman: "In a Rutgers camp full of big-time prospects, nobody stole the show as a lineman like Kemoko Turay. Turay's senior tape is so unbelievably dominant that it's hard to believe he has only been playing competitive football for one year. When Turay is a red-shirt sophomore, watch out."

OLB Myles Nash

Timber Creek (Erial, N.J.) – 6-4/205

Dohn: "One of the most talented kids in New Jersey's 2013 class is Nash, but he needs to put on 20 pounds to handle Big Ten football. He is long, athletic and runs very well, and should make a very good SAM linebacker once he gets stronger. He has tremendous change of direction skills for a player his size."

Hellman: "Myles Nash definitely doesn't look like a Big Ten linebacker, but neither did Jamal Merrell when he came to Rutgers. Turn on Nash's defensive film and you will see a smart athlete with great speed off the edge and a competitive spirit. Plus, Nash had the most entertaining commitment of the year."

S T.J. Taylor

South Brunswick (Monmouth Junction, N.J.) – 6-3/180

Dohn: "Taylor could be the sleeper of the class. He will enter as a safety but could grow into an outside linebacker. He runs well and with purpose, and he loves delivering a big hit. He needs to add weight and strength, but he is a gem."

Hellman: "The more Taylor plays, the more he shows the athleticism needed to play safety. Outside linebacker is a possibility down the road, but Taylor's physicality and speed make him what Rutgers needs at safety in a few years. Taylor also brings incredible ball skills and continues the South Brunswick pipeline."

CB Anthony Cioffi

Dayton (Springfield, N.J.) – 6-/180

Dohn: "The first member of the 2013 class will come to Rutgers as a cornerback but could be a safety. He has the speed and length to play cornerback, but he has to show he has the hips and ability to flip and change direction against big-time college receivers."

Hellman: "Cioffi was identified early as a Group 1 gem and he was the first 2013 prospect to commit to Flood. I love Cioffi's versatility as a defensive back and he is physical enough to go 1-on-1 with receivers. Look for Cioffi to be a special teams gem as well."

S Bryant Gross-Armiento

Plantation (Fla.) – 6-/190

Dohn: "Rutgers added depth in the secondary with the underrated Gross-Armiento, who battled injuries as a senior. He likes to hit and can play close to the line of scrimmage against the run, but also is comfortable in coverage."

Hellman: "Gross-Armiento is a physical safety from a school with a winning tradition. For a program losing three of its top four safeties, building depth with players like this is huge when trying to reload the secondary."

DE Nick Internicola

University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) – 6-3/220

Dohn: "Internicola gives the Scarlet Knights size and length at the defensive end ‘R' position, and his ability to add good weight during his senior season should help him get on the field sooner. He is most comfortable going after the passer, but he can drop into coverage on occasion."

Hellman: "Internicola was a lifetime linebacker, but his solid play as a defensive lineman at Rutgers' summer camp moved him way up the board. Internicola added size and used his speed to become an elite pass rusher as a high school senior. He's going to have to make strides in the weight room before he sees the field, but he fits perfectly into the Rutgers scheme as an ‘R.'"

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