In 2015 -- Tight ends Nakia Griffin and Anthony Folkerts, both three-star recruits, joined the Rutgers family on National Signing Day when they faxed their LOIs to the Hale Center. Griffin committed to Rutgers almost immediately after he received an offer last year. He stayed solid after a Louisville offer, and played a leadership role in the class. Folkerts enjoyed a summer visit while he saw family down the Jersey Shore and it led to a commitment.
Expectations -- Neither is “ready” for playing time, but that may not matter when they both arrive in Phil Galiano’s tight end meeting room. Rutgers is unproven and inexperienced at tight end after Tyler Kroft’s early departure. In a battle that includes favorite Nick Arcidiacono, walk-ons Charles Scarff and Matt Flanagan and red-shirt freshmen George Behr and Logan Lister, may the best men win. Look for Rutgers to use three or four tight ends this season. Griffin brings good athleticism to the position, and can always grow as a blocker throughout the year. Folkerts shows impressive red-zone skills on film, but has work to do before he sees the field. How many see the field may also depend on new coordinator Ben McDaniels and how he plans to use tight ends in his scheme.
In 2016 -- Rutgers does not have to take a tight end this year, but depth never hurts. Naseir Upshur of Philadelphia and the Scout 300 would be the biggest fish at the position for Rutgers, and the Scarlet Knights hosted him on multiple early visits. Jovanni Haskins of Bergenfield (N.J.) could be a tight end or receiver, and is close with Griffin and newly moved wide receiver coach Anthony Campanile.
Needs Addressed? -- Yes indeed. Sure, it would have been nice to sign a ready-made replacement for Kroft, but that is unrealistic. Instead, Rutgers added two guys that are locks to work hard and bring unique physical tools. Rutgers needed one or two tight ends in 2015. Coach Kyle Flood landed exactly that, and if Griffin’s high school days are any sign, there is major team captain potential within the young man from Tenafly.