Alexander on the joys of Rutgers visit

Downingtown East (Exton, Pa.) defensive lineman Taj Alexander, who committed to Rutgers in November, learned where he will play along the line when he arrives on campus. He also spoke at length with position coach Gary Emanuel, and gave his thoughts on how he would fit into the defense. Alexander also talked about what he enjoyed the most about his trip.

There was the food at nearly every turn, the hangin' out with future teammates, the trip to the ESPN Zone in Manhattan and the meeting time with Rutgers defensive line coach Gary Emanuel.

Scarlet Knights commit and Downingtown East (Exton, Pa.) defensive lineman Taj Alexander enjoyed plenty about his weekend official visit to Rutgers, but one theme really grabbed his attention.

"Just the way they took care of their players,'' Alexander said. "I just felt very comfortable, and I felt that was the place I wanted to be for the next couple of years.

"Resources were there. It's not like the players are on their own when they go there. They take care of the players. You get an education, they feed them well, they work out them out well. They just take care of the players.''

There was also a lot of food involved in the visit, from breakfast or lunch in the Hale Center, to frequenting the eateries in New Brunswick, to the trip to Times Square.

"We ate a lot,'' Alexander said. "I swear, it seemed like every two minutes we had something else to eat.''

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Alexander also learned he will play either defensive tackle or nose guard at Rutgers. He was hosted by defensive tackle Eric LeGrand, and also got to hang out with fellow interior defensive linemen Scott Vallone and Charlie Noonan.

There was also plenty of film watching, and discussion, with Emanuel.

"We talked a lot about how Rutgers plays defense, not necessarily what I can work on,'' Alexander said. "He just showed me different stunts and different fronts, and where they have certain people lining up. The defense, especially the defensive line, they may not be the biggest, but they move pretty quickly. When they fire out, they get around a lot.''

When Alexander committed, he was uncertain if he would play inside or defensive end. Now, he knows.

"Probably inside at either nose guard or defensive tackle,'' he said. "I think I can get off the line pretty quickly and get penetration, and it messes up zone blocks, and a lot of times the running back or the quarterback doesn't have anywhere to roll out.''

Although Alexander lives approximately 90 minutes from campus, he said plans on making a few spring practices to further acquaint himself with the program, its plays and style.

And why not make a few more trips? Alexander had a blast on his visit.

"Actually, it was one of the best times I've had in a while,'' he said. "I really enjoyed it. There wasn't one thing about it, but it was all the people, all the coaches, the campus, everything.''


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