As a Rutgers Hall of Famer, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Poly Prep head coach Dino Mangiero knows a few things about big-time football.
Mangiero’s relationship with Rutgers dates back nearly 40 years, and he sees it as the best fit for three-star linebacker Elias Reynolds of Poly Prep.
“I’m glad he chose Rutgers because there are great coaches there,” Magiero said. “He can get a great education. It’s an hour or so from his house. He’s playing Big Ten football. So the real question is, why not? Why not go to Rutgers? It makes great sense for this boy. They were the first ones. They’ve always told him he’s their first choice at linebacker.”
Rutgers holds a commitment from projected middle linebacker Jonathan Pollock from Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips, and sees Reynolds as a contributor on the outside.
“He’s almost 6-foot-3, and he’s 228 pounds,” Mangiero said. “Last year, he covered slot receivers man-to-man. Here’s a big kid that can really run. On top of all of that, Poly is a real tough academic school, and he’s a really good student here. He’s the whole package. He’s a bright kid that’s big at his position and can run.”
Reynolds said he never felt pressure to go to Rutgers because of his coach, but received valuable information that factored into his decision.
“Kyle [Flood] is not only a great coach, but he’s a great person,” Mangiero said. “We’ve been good friends for a long time. I have multiple guys this year that are going to go to different schools. [Rutgers] is not a perfect fit for everybody. Some guys want to go away for whatever reasons. In this particular case, I think Kyle and the coaching staff really hit it off with Elias. Elias is from Queens. Kyle is from Queens. It was the right fit for everybody.”
Mangiero entered the Rutgers Hall of Fame in 1992. A future NFL defensive lineman, he led a dominant defensive effort in the storied 1979 victory over Tennessee and contributed to the 1976 undefeated season.
“Having Rutgers [in the Big Ten] is great for this year,” Mangiero said. “It’s great for the New Jersey and New York area. Back in the day when I went to Rutgers, we played some Ivy League schools with that 76 11-0 team. Then we played bigger schools my senior year when we played Penn State and Tennessee. It’s excited to be a part of that, just like it is now. It’s exciting to be playing all of the big boys and bringing great, Big Ten football to this area.’’