Rutgers Lands Walk-on Gunslinger Matteo Vitale of Paul VI

Rutgers coach Chris Ash picked up a valuable preferred walk-on and made someone's dreams come true at the same time when he accepted a verbal commitment from Haddonfield (N.J.) Paul VI quarterback Matteo Vitale.

Haddonfield (N.J.) Paul VI quarterback Matteo Vitale saw himself at Rutgers after he watched Rutgers pull of its program-defining victory 10 years ago.

As a high-school senior, Vitale received his opportunity during a visit Tuesday to see the new program.

“I’m feeling great,” he said. “I feel like I’ve got a giant weight lifted off my shoulders. I don’t ever have to worry about recruiting ever again. This is literally everything I could ever hope for. It’s been a dream of mine to play for Rutgers my whole life, ever since I was a kid and I saw Rutgers beat Louisville.”

The new Rutgers coaching staff contacted Vitale three weeks ago about interest in him as a preferred walk-on. Vitale said that after a tough period of holding his breath, the commitment came easily.

“It’s everything I could ever hope for,” Vitale said. “Coach Ash and coach Okruch were the first two coaches I ever talked to. They were really nice and genuine and right when I got to campus today, they made me feel like it was a great place to be.”

Vitale is equally interested in the academic portion of Rutgers, where he plans to learn more during a return visit in March.

“It’s a great fit for me,” he said. “I’m going to major in communications and it’s really close to Philadelphia and New York, so I have a lot of interesting opportunities. I’m going to have a lot of connections just from the location and the academics.”

Vitale is not a traditional dual-threat offense, but said he fits what Rutgers described as its ideal quarterback because of competitiveness, intelligence and leadership ability.

“I think it fits me perfect,” Vitale said on the offense. “This is the best offense I could be a part of. You spread out, you’re up tempo and you spread the ball around to all of those receivers. I think that’s what I’m best at, recognizing quick coverages and getting the ball out of my hands I’m not really a big runner but I still have the capability to get out of the pocket. I’m not going to be stuck in the pocket forever. Once I start lifting with them, I will get faster. I’m quick but I don’t have that breakaway speed yet.”

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