Rutgers started two sophomores and a true freshman at linebacker against Michigan. The Scarlet Knights likely do the same Saturday against Illinois in a search for better defense after two straight blowouts.
While fans and casual observers see a vulnerable, young defense, four-star Baltimore Calvert Hall linebacker Tyshon Fogg sees endless opportunity.
“Hopefully I'll play early if I go out and compete like they've said,” Fogg said. “Play with my man Deonte [Roberts], next to him or whatever. We can just go out there and play, so hopefully I can play early. … I'll come for anything. You just have to go out and compete, whatever fits me best.”
Fogg followed the first six games of the Rutgers season as closely as he could from time in Maryland and his hometown of Asbury Park, N.J. The 78-0 loss against Michigan was frustrating for many but quick contact from head coach Chris Ash and defensive coordinator Jay Niemann was key.
“The Michigan loss was definitely a rough one but they were like, listen, 'we're just trying to recruit good guys to come here and make a difference,'” Fogg said. “It doesn't look pretty right now but if we keep on building, keep on bringing in good guys from the New Jersey area or any areas at all just to compete and come to the program and make it a high-profile program.”
As one of Rutgers' highest-rated recruits and one of two in the Scout 300, what does Fogg want to see after a 2-4 start to the Ash era?
“I just want to see a whole bunch of guys running around and competing,” Fogg said. “Competing is the key, giving the team a lot of work. I know it's not going to be as easy, but you've just got to go out there, try to put some points up, try to get some big stops and overall get a win.”
Fogg announced for Rutgers during a summer visit to campus with family. Since his decision, he considers the pressure of recruiting to be deleted.
“The recruiting process was definitely a hassle,” Fogg said. “There's a whole bunch of guys in [messages] hitting you up and everything. I talk to coach Niemann a lot. Actually, I just talked to him last night, coach Niemann and coach Ash. We had a good conversation about everything and how everything is going. I keep in good contact with them. It's definitely slowed down a little bit but I like it.”