Noah K Murray / USA Today Sports

Q&A with Rutgers TE Matt Flanagan

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers sophomore tight end Matt Flanagan discusses his first career touchdown and what it means to earn a scholarship after two years of hard work as a Scarlet Knight.

Scarlet Report publisher Sam Hellman – You scored your first touchdown, how does it feel?

Rutgers sophomore tight end Matt Flanagan – “It’s pretty awesome. I’m pretty sure it’s one of those things everyone has a dream about, you know, hit a home run, score a touchdown. It was awesome.”

SH – You made plays last year too, I remember a big fourth-down conversion, but a touchdown has to feel totally different.

MF – “Yeah, it’s different. It’s awesome. It’s fun celebrating with my teammates.”

SH – Did your family get to see it?

MF – “Yeah, they were able to be there. They were pretty excited. I told my little brother that the first touchdown I score is for him He was there, so it’s really cool.”

SH – Who is your next touchdown for then?

MF – “I don’t know. I guess that one’s up for grabs. We’ll start the bidding process this week.”

SH – How much more tight-end friendly do you think this offense is under Ben McDaniels?

MF – “I really wouldn’t say it was not tight end friendly last year or that one is more friendly than the other. I think it’s just different. It’s a good question. There is obviously a difference in what we do and whether that’s because of the personnel we have now versus what we had last year or anything as far as that goes. We have depth at the tight end position, so we want to get as many guys in there as possible. They’re all very good players. Keep getting in there. Keep getting better.”

SH – What do you like about the versatility of what you’re asked to do? You can work at fullback, you block, you make plays

MF – “I think it’s a great way to learn football. A lot of people will go their entire career and only learn their position. This started last year with coach [Ralph] Friedgen, through knowing other roles in the offense, you start to understand the big picture around the play that we call. I know that as this position, I have this block. But what is the entire offensive line doing? How can I use that information? It’s fun. You’re deducing what you have on that play.”

SH – You were a great student in high school and you had some interesting opportunities. What made you choose Rutgers academically and on the field?

MF – “Starting academically because we’re student athletes, Rutgers is great. It gives you every tool you possibly could need. I’m able to do research, pursue a degree in cell biology and neuroscience. I have all of the tools at my hands to do that. Rutgers is whatever you want it to be. You can really take advantage of everything they have to offer. There is so much that the sports staff and the university in general does for its students. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my academic career is being able to do research. That wouldn’t be possible if I went to some other school. That was one of the biggest reasons I chose Rutgers. I said there’s a lot I can do to enhance my academic career. Football wise, I wanted to be a Scarlet Knight I guess. It’s pretty simple.”

SH – I’ve spoken to more than a few recruits that slept through the academic presentation on their official visit. I’m guessing that wasn’t you.

MF – “I had a lot of questions. I remember that a lot.”

SH – You probably wore out [Special Counsel for Academic Programs Chair] Carl Kirschner.

MF – “Yes. Definitely yes. He sat at my table when I was on my official visit. We had a long talk. He’s a great guy. I still talk to him to this day about that stuff. He’s an awesome resource.”

SH – How is life now that you’re on scholarship?

MF – “Coach Flood told me in the spring that I was going to be put on scholarship. Once it hits you, you don’t know how to react. That’s why you come here, obviously, but at the same time, I wanted more. It was awesome and I thank the coaches for everything they’ve done for me. I’ve had bigger goals than just earning a scholarship. I want to win a championship. My goal wasn’t just to earn a scholarship. I wanted to take this program to a place it’s never been and we have a group of guys that can do that.”

SH – You caught your first career touchdown from Hayden Rettig. On Saturday, you’re playing with Chris Laviano. What are your thoughts on that?

MF – “It’s a good question. We’re just trying to be the best team that we possibly can be. … Both of those guys are good competitors and that’s what I want to see.”

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