Zuttah looking to take it to another level

Coming out of High School, Jeremy Zuttah was ranked as the No. 20 OL/DL prospect in the nation by TheInsiders.com (now Scout.com). Zuttah had his pick of the litter but decided to stay home. Three years later, that fateful decision has allowed Zuttah to translate himself into one of the premier OLs in the country, while helping to anchor one of the top OL units in the nation.

While Jeremy Zuttah's size was never his most staggering characteristic his athleticism and footwork, for his position, made the 6-foot-4 and 295-pounder one of the most coveted high school prospects in the nation four years ago. Having played both lines in high school, in addition to his duties as member of the Edison HS baseball and basketball squads enabled Zuttah to acquire attributes more typical of a basketball power-forward. Bringing those rare qualities to the table has helped the Rutgers offensive line (OL) become one of the premiere units in the country, ranking 15th nationally in the nation in rushing offense and allowing only 8 sacks (#1 in the country) in 2006.

But, Zuttah is no longer the young pup most recruitniks remember him as. He is one of the veterans on this Rutgers Football team and most certainly one of the leaders of the OL. Despite his accolades and successes, Zuttah is not satisfied by any means, a personal trait that has attracted quite a few players to the seeking eyes of Head Coach Greg Schiano.

"I'm trying to get better in every aspect of the game, every little thing that I do, I try to make sure that I get a little better at it. One of the things I'm working on is to be more dominant as a blocker," stated Zuttah.

One of Zuttah's most impressive assets and perhaps his greatest contribution to the RU Football program has been his tremendous versatility, having earned starts at left tackle (LT), left guard (LG), and right tackle (RT - his current home) during his three years thus far. His versatility aside, three years of game experience has also aided in his improvement considerably.

"One of our advantages this year will be that we'll all be seniors," said Zuttah, referring to the trio consisting of himself, Pedro Sosa, and Mike Fladell. "That's going to be big for us. Obviously, losing a couple of guys like Darnell [Stapleton] and Cam [Stephenson] is tough, but we've got a good group of young guys here that are willing to work hard and contribute."

One of these younger guys is none other than the starting Center (C), So. OL Ryan Blaszczyk. "Blaszczyk has definitely gotten a lot better this year. He has a very good work ethic and he's been working very hard to make it happen. With the true freshman [Fr.] here in the program, with guys like Anthony [Davis] and Caleb Ruch, things will be fine here. There is some very good talent here," said Zuttah.

Although RU's undivided attention has now switched completely to Buffalo, maintaining one another's focus on just what lies ahead remains each and every player's duty. "No matter who we're playing, the focus has to remain on us. When we're preparing for someone, we're preparing for them schematically, but the only thing we're worried about is us and being the best that we can be," continued Zuttah.

With less than double digit number of days remaining until the season opener (August 30th - kickoff set for 7 p.m.), the former J.P. Stevens standout and preseason All-Big East selection will have to wait only a little longer before he and the rest the of the RU OL reclaim the trenches that they so adeptly dominated in '06.


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