In 2015 -- Rutgers excelled in its defensive line recruiting, highlighted by the additions of four-star Marques Ford at defensive end and Kamaal Seymour playing inside. The Scarlet Knights also signed Columbia (Md.) Long Reach defensive end Ron’dell Carter, Poolesville (Md.) defensive end Jon Bateky and Orange (N.J.) defensive end Willington Previlon.
Expectations -- It would be great for Rutgers if all five red-shirted this season. That may not work out after Rutgers said farewell to a third of its defensive line rotation at the end of a strong 2014 season. Ford brings the biggest potential after his big January splash. He has excellent athleticism and burst off the edge, but needs a year to refine technique before he can make an impact. It is a similar story for Bateky, who is an above average athlete that needs to get off the ball quicker and with better technique. Carter has pass-rushing potential as a defensive end when he gets stronger, and Seymour could fit either at defensive or offensive tackle for Rutgers. Seymour could bulk up to 315 pounds before he takes the field. He brings the Big Ten size coach Kyle Flood wants in his trenches.
In 2016 -- Five-star Rashan Gary, Scout’s No. 1 overall 2016 prospect, is the big fist. Rutgers has as good of a head start as possible, hosting him for visits since seventh grade, but every team in the nation wants this Paramus (N.J.) Catholic talent. Should Rutgers make an early in-state splash in recruiting, it becomes a more attractive option for the talented Gary. Rutgers does not need more than two or three defensive linemen after the strong haul last year, but certainly needs more at defensive tackle. Rutgers is doing well with four-star Karamo Dioubate, three-star Quayshon Alexander, three-star Ron Johnson and three-star Tymir Oliver early in the process.
Needs Addressed? -- Yes. Though Rutgers could have used a bit more than Seymour at the defensive tackle spot, the overall rotation and depth on the line remains impressive with an influx of talent. Panagos has an excellent crop of linemen to mold in the meeting rooms, and that starts in one month when Bateky practices for the first time at the college level. The best part about the 2015 line class is its versatility. Rutgers has pass rushers, athletes, special teams contributors, run stuffers and more.