Rutgers football has added local standout Chike Nwankwo, a linebacker from Bridgewater-Raritan high school, to the program as a preferred walk-on. He made it official by announcing his decision on twitter on Saturday night.
Excited for the future!!! ⚔️ #ChopNation@RFootball @rickmantz @CoachBlaz pic.twitter.com/DzISTCYxyf— Chike Nwankwo (@ChikeNwankwo47) January 27, 2018
The 6’2”, 225 pound linebacker in the class of 2018 wasn’t highly recruited, but he did have a very successful high school career. Nwankwo was a star for Bridgewater-Raritan and helped lead them to three consecutive North 2 Group V state championship games during his career. He spoke with NJ Advance Media’s Todderick Hunt in December after Rutgers extended an offer as a preferred walk-on. Per Hunt’s article, other teams that were recruiting Nwankwo include FBS schools Syracuse, UConn, Temple, as well as FCS programs Stony Brook, Maine, and Sacred Heart. Statistically, Nwankwo produced 122 tackles, 5 sacks, a forced fumble and a interception during his senior season of high school football.
Despite Nwankwo’s lack of FBS offers, it makes a lot of sense for head coach Chris Ash and the coaching staff to take him as a flier. He is a local kid who flourished in high school and could develop over time into a solid contributor. Rutgers has a long tradition with developing walk-on’s into successful players, not only on the college level, but several who have flourished in the NFL as well. Rutgers Director of High School Relations, Rick Mantz, tweeted a reminder of the great walk-on tradition with the program this past Friday.
RU next? Start here as a walk-on, earn a scholarship and still live the dream!! pic.twitter.com/TriZMVVrUa— Rick Mantz (@rickmantz) January 26, 2018
Could Nwankwo be the next one? Only time will tell, but giving a motivated, athletic local player that opportunity seems like a smart choice. Here are highlights of Nwankwo’s senior season.