When it comes to the Big Ten, Rutgers is getting a lot more than a big body, said Long Beach coach Scott Martin.
"He's a weapon for us and he's a true athlete," Martin said. "He's a leader. He's not just a big kid. He's an athletic kid that can handle a lot of agility and moving and stuff like that. That just adds to our offensive playbook."
Cole is a four-year starter at left tackle for Long Beach, where he took over midway through his freshman year. Cole is used as a pass protector and mobile run blocker, which has him prepared to transition to guard at Rutgers.
"He can pull very well," Martin said. "He's really good on his feet. He's a tremendous player and I think he can have an impact there.
"I'm sure coach [Kyle] Flood is excited about that. He plays left tackle since he was a freshman. He's been starting at left tackle since his freshman year. We run a lot of spread offense kind of stuff. We do pull him through with [isolation] plays. Most of the time we pull him, he's pancaking one or two guys. He has quick momentum. He does a great job of pass protect on the blindside for our quarterback."
Cole expects to drop weight and rebuild his body when he arrives at the Rutgers strength and conditioning program. He moves with the agility of a lighter lineman, but has a lot of work ahead in terms of his conditioning.
"He's a tremendous body," Martin said. "He's so big. He's always been that way, but he's really a true athlete. He's one of the top athletes in the school. He runs and he moves and he's one of the most athletic linemen that I've seen in the whole county. That's rare with his size. He's going against guys in the 240 range and he's more athletic than they are. He moves better than they do at 375 pounds."
Cole has been a Rutgers camper since Flood handled offensive line duties under coach Greg Schiano. A standout offensively at this summer's Big Man Academy, Cole earned an offer after a solid start to his senior year.
"I think it's because of his work ethic and maturity," Martin said on the jump. "That's where I've seen the difference. Every year he is consistently better than his last year. He had a big jump from freshman to sophomore and sophomore to junior. Now he's even farther ahead as a senior."
Cole is the fourth offensive line commit and second interior lineman in the Rutgers class of 2014.
"It's an honor to have an opportunity to coach a kid like Tariq," Martin said. "… We were lucky to get Tariq and he's been great over the years because he really took to what we tell him. We told him for years that he needs to concentrate on being a good kid, doing the right things in school, doing the right things in the community. He developed and got a scholarship to play football and made all the right steps."