Video: Next Step for Stapleton, The League

Darnell Stapleton will forever be remembered as the unsung hero of an offensive line that literally rose from rags to riches during his tenure as a Scarlet Knight. He was the pleasant surprise of the 2005 season, and by the conclusion of 2006 Stapleton had played his way on to the Final List of the Rimington Award. Stapleton solidified an OL that became equally adept at run and pass blocking.

By way of Union HS, and Hudson Valley Community College where he played both the C and Tackle positions, while becoming the only player in Hudson Valley history to start 21 consecutive games, Darnell Stapleton won the starting C job during the summer training camp of '05, during a wide-open battle. Stapleton quickly put to rest any worries of Rutgers Football fans as he helped solidify a vastly improved OL in 2005 as compared to the previous year.

Stapleton went on to start 12 games as C in 2005 and paved the way for an offensive line that recorded seven 100-yard rushing performances and produced RU's first 1,000-yard rusher since 1994 in Ray Rice. The following year - 2006 - saw more of the same as Stapleton helped lead one of the top OLs in the nation, a line that forbid the opposition from making any headway into the backfield and one that produced a second consecutive 1,000 yard rusher in So. Ray Rice.

While the Stapleton pipeline to Rutgers will continue (younger brother Darnell has been a Rutgers OL commitment since this past summer), the elder Stapleton's departure will leave a gaping void in the middle of one of the top OLs in the nation.

The Rimington Award Finalist talked about the OL's bond and their ability to play as cohesively as they did for the past 2 years, in addition to commenting on what lies ahead for him.

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