Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook product Sam Blue will be learning a new position when he arrives at Rutgers, and cannot wait to attach himself to defensive line coach Jim Panagos. Blue will come in as a hybrid defensive end, known as the "R" position.
"I can't wait to play for [Panagos], because he's just an awesome guy," Blue said. "I watched him coach at the spring game, and he made me just want to go play for him immediately."
Blue met with Panagos and defensive coordinator Joe Rossi before flipping to Rutgers, and said both are going to be ideal mentors.
"They're fun guys," Blue said. "They know what they're talking about, but they're also passionate about what they do. They're not just telling you. They're showing you what to do. They're just so passionate about the game. They're such great teachers, and they're going to coach me up right away."
Blue kept close eyes on both during a spring game visit with his family. It was his first time back on campus since committing on his official visit.
"It was time for excitement," Blue said. "I got to talk with some of the fans that were there. They were showing me love and already knew who I was. That was great. I got to see how I'm going to be coached and everything. I was feeling that excitement from coach Panagos and coach Rossi. It really made me just wish I was there now."
"I know it's a very aggressive position," said Blue, who checks in at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds. "I'm going to be up on the line and rushing off the edge. While in the spring game they only showed the basic stuff, I still got to see how I'm going take blocks from the pulling guards or what it's going to be like to rush the passer. It was good to see."
Blue was a top-notch high school student, and academics were a part of the draw to Rutgers. He is eager to start his college career when he arrives June 22.
"I'm just ready," Blue said. "I want to get down there and start summer school. I want to get the chance to transition and take it slowly at first. College is a huge step. Also, just the move from North Carolina to New Jersey is going to be a big change. I've never spent a lot of time in New Jersey. I'm looking forward to the change in location and culture and stuff like that.
"Stay focused. Don't get distracted. There are so many things that can take you off-course when you get to college. Everyone – my family, coaches, the players – is telling me that I need to stay focused on the football and classroom. Stay away from the distractions. That's what I plan to do."