Rutgers has four early-enrolled prospects on campus for the spring semester. Though not formally announced by the program yet, all four are hard at work in workouts and classes.
Scarlet Report had you covered on all four commitments, and now looks at where they fit in spring practice.
Name -- Isaiah Johnson
Position -- Middle linebacker
From -- San Francisco City College and Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O’Dowd
The Word on the Street -- Kyle Flood and Bob Fraser scouted Johnson with the idea of an instant contributor inside. Johnson’s enrollment out of junior college gives Rutgers an experienced option as Kevin Snyder’s replacement inside. Johnson keeps Steve Longa in the mix at weakside linebacker while the staff evaluates its best three options as 2015 starters. With Sidney Gopre’s status in question at the weakside and T.J. Taylor learning the position, Longa is a much-needed presence on the weak side. Look for a spring battle between Johnson and L.J. Liston inside.
Name -- Blessuan Austin
Position -- Cornerback
From -- New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy and New York Campus Magnet High School
The Word on the Street -- Cornerback depth is a continued search for Rutgers, and Austin was a strong late-find for the staff out of Milford. Flood scouted Austin during a visit to see Gopre, and locked up an unofficial visit and verbal commitment a few weeks later. Austin brings length and athleticism to a defensive secondary with plenty of reps to go around in 2015 behind projected starters Nadir Barnwell, Dre Boggs and Anthony Cioffi.
Name -- Deonte Roberts
Position -- Outside linebacker
From -- Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall
The Word on the Street -- Another New York addition to the Rutgers roster, Roberts provides spring depth at the position alongside young players like Brandon Russell. Roberts needs refinement and size before he contributes, and the extra semester in the classroom and weight room comes into play big here.
Name -- Jon Bateky
Position -- Defensive end
From -- Poolesville (Md.)
The Word on the Street -- Bateky is Rutgers’ highest rated commitment in the East region, with a strong senior season and early enrollment. Defensive line coach Jim Panagos recruited Bateky personally, and gets him for 15 extra practices with Rutgers returns to the field in two months. Bateky fits nicely at the traditional “E” position at Rutgers, and can learn a lot from fifth-year senior Djwany Mera.