21 in 21: OLB Sidney Gopre

The 21 in 21 series is designed to introduce fans to the newcomers arriving at Rutgers this summer. In a once a day format, ScarletReport.com presents profiles of the class of 2014. Today, we present Sidney Gopre of Newark (N.J.) Weequahic – ready to learn from Steve Longa at weakside linebacker.

Newark (N.J.) Weequahic linebacker Sidney Gopre has no plans of backing down when it comes to a battle for playing time as a true freshman.

One of the top in-state prospects to sign with Rutgers in the 2014 class, Gopre hopes to give standout linebacker Steve Longa a run for his money in training camp.

Longa moved to weakside linebacker in the spring, where Gopre will begin his Rutgers career upon his June enrollment.

"Of course I'm trying to get a starting spot," he said. "Everyone wants that. That's trying to succeed on the next level. Coach Rossi is the one that recruited me, and I believe he'll be making us do great things."

Defensive coordinator Joe Rossi told Gopre he would begin on the weakside, joining names like Longa and Khaseem Greene.

"When they were telling me that, I was just saying yes sir, I'm ready," Gopre said. "It's one of the most important positions on their defense. They're going to put me in a position to make plays, and hopefully I'll start making them as soon as I get there."

Gopre comes to Rutgers at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds after a 170-tackle senior season at Weequahic. He fielded advances from dozens of schools after an early commitment, but did not take other visits or waiver on his decision.

"It's pretty big to represent them," Gopre said. "There are a lot of people that want to watch me and support me and support Rutgers. Hopefully I'll be there to bring a Big Ten championship back to them in Jersey. …I just feel like Rutgers is going to make history in the Big Ten, and I need to be a part of that."

Gopre remains in touch with Rossi and other Rutgers coaches about getting ready for June. He also said he receives good advice from Weequahic head coach Brian Johnson and assistant Darnell Mangan.

"I can say yes that I feel ready, but I can't really know until I get there," Gopre said. "I've been talking to my coaches, and they've been giving me pretty great advice – go up there and play a humble role in the beginning. Learn everything you can, ask a lot of questions.

"I'm working pretty hard. It's the hardest I've ever pushed myself. I'm just trying to get better and faster. I need to be more focused on football as I go on to the next level."

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