Rutgers welcomes two new cornerbacks to the roster Monday, and both have high goals in their first camp with the Scarlet Knights.
One graduate transfer (Ross Taylor-Douglas) and one junior college addition (Kobe Marfo), Rutgers has new faces ready for action in the defensive secondary.
Marfo arrives at Rutgers on Memorial Day, and the Northern Virginia native is ready for competition.
“It's important for me to be a starter,” Marfo said. “I want to solidify myself in that program, and in that area for years to come. I have an early start getting there, and I want to show myself as one of college football's best cornerbacks. I have high goals. I want to show everyone that I came to Rutgers to compete and work very hard. I'm a guy that's very professional. I'm work oriented. I'm about business.”
Marfo was a high-school qualifier. He chose one year at Reedley (Calif.) Junior College to expand his options, and Rutgers coach Chris Ash acted quickly after he took the job.
“They're all about business,” Marfo said. “They have fun too but when it's time to get to business, they're blue collar. They're organized and professional. That type of attitude around the players rubs off on everyone in the organization. You use it to propel the players when they move on to the next level.”
Two NFL defensive backs made an impact on Marfo in the buildup to Rutgers.
The first was a family member. Larry Asante, a five-year NFL veteran and cousin, made himself available consistently to Marfo for advice.
“I talk to him almost every day,” Marfo said on Asante, who played at Nebraska. “He says you have to be focused and don't let the little things get to you. Sometimes you'll have crazy fans, just stay focused. That's basically it. That was the main thing, stay focused and be prepared. Make sure you do well and show your face around the community.”
Former Ohio State star Eli Apple was the other.
“That pick stood out to me a lot, and seeing coach Ash there with him did too,” Marfo said. “When I took my visit, my first time being at Rutgers he told me he was going to be at the draft with Eli Apple. The Giants actually traded up to draft him and he was the first cornerback off the board. Seeing coach Ash do that, it gave me chills because I was excited for Eli's family and for coach Ash as well for being able to help him like that. This could be me in the next two or three years if I just listen to coach Ash.”
Marfo completed his online coursework through Middlesex Community College this week, and says he is set for the first summer session at Rutgers.
“I feel like anywhere will be an adjustment moving from Virginia because it's a different place, but I feel that I will adjust quickly. I adjusted pretty quickly when I went to the other side of the country in California. I won't have a problem at all.”
Strength coach Kenny Parker is the early point man on Marfo's development but cornerbacks coach Aaron Henry takes over in training camp.
“I trust them a lot,” Marfo said. “If I trusted them only 99.9 percent, I wouldn't have committed. Whole hardhearted throughout this whole process, I trusted them. I've seen what they've done with the players they have now.”