West Orange (N.J.) coach James Matsakis knows Rutgers, and coached a former Scarlet Knight in wide receiver Andrew Turzilli.
Coaching a future Scarlet Knight in linebacker commit C.J. Onyechi, Matsakis' experiences drew an interesting comparison for the newest member of the 2017 class.
“He's so fast that I think, even if he grows, he keeps his speed,” Matsakis said. “I know they have a new staff defensively, so a lot depends on what they run, but I see him as a bigger, taller version of Steve Longa from Saddle Brook.”
Longa's career at Rutgers certainly worked out, and Onyechi expects a similar role as a coverage outside linebacker.
“He can cover a tight end and do some things off the edge,” Matsakis said. “Because of his natural ability and the fact that he's so raw, they'll be able to put him in a lot of places.”
Onyechi's older brother hit a major college growth spurt and as a young player for his grade, Rutgers has a blank slate.
“They're getting a player with a great motor and a huge upside,” Matsakis said. “He should actually be a year behind. He started school earlier, so he's still growing, very explosive for us. He's been our only playmaker the last two years. He's started since we got here his freshman here.
“...He's the ultimate team player. He's one of our fastest kids but willing to play offensive line. Very unselfish. He can be molded into anything they want. It's great for pretty much all of West Orange to show what can happen.”
Onyechi is a first-generation American, whose most recent visit to campus sold the family on a future in Piscataway.
“He's the it factor,” Matsakis said on leadership. “I have maybe one other kid that's as positive as he is. He's always positive off the field. He has a 3.5 GPA and sets the tone when he's home. He's a model kid, goes to bible study every Thursday night. I think that will be big for him in college. I've never had to worry about him.”