Rosa Eager to Walk On at Rutgers

West Lawn (Pa.) Wilson outside linebacker Austin Rosa committed to Rutgers Sunday as a preferred walk-on. After an unofficial visit sold Rosa and his family on Rutgers, he explained his decision in a conversation with Scout.

Rutgers works hard to avoid the “walk on stigma” in its program, and that message reeled in a commitment Sunday from West Lawn (Pa.) Wilson linebacker Austin Rosa.

The 6-foot, 203-pound outside linebacker chose the Scarlet Knights at the preferred walk-on level. He informed the coaching staff of his decision Monday, and is ready to work.

“I knew from the start that I wasn’t going to be a scholarship player,” Rosa said. “I’m not this blue-chip, elite recruit, but I know I can earn it with a walk on spot. That’s fine with me. In my high school, I had to earn respect. I feel like I’m ready for the challenge.”

Rutgers opened the season with two converted walk-ons in its starting backfield in 2014 – Paul James and Michael Burton.

The Scarlet Knights have a bevy of walk-on success stories including Gary Brackett, Shaun O’Hara and Howard Barbieri.

“Whether you’re a walk on or a full scholarship player, everybody is equal at Rutgers,” Rosa said. “They’re all a part of the family. Everyone gets the same chances and same opportunities, and that was a big selling point for me.”

Rosa unofficially visited Rutgers with family before two weeks ago, where recruiting coordinator Phil Galiano gave him a behind-the-scenes look.

“We went up and met all of the coaches and then I got a full tour with coach Galiano,” Rosa said. “I’m fired up. I grew up watching schools like Penn State and Ohio State and now I’m going to be playing against them? That’s crazy. It’s definitely a good feeling.”

The visit was the final selling point for Rosa and family.

“It’s been in the works for a couple of weeks,” he said. “I had been getting interest from some other schools, but last week I decided to make a visit there with my family and everything was perfect. The facilities were all great.”

An education in physical therapy awaits Rosa at Rutgers.

“I’ve heard really great things about Rutgers,” he said. “They have so many great majors to choose from, and a great reputation. I’m going to figure out what I have to take, I’ve heard from a lot of people how great the education is. “

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