Last Thursday you voted on the best pass rusher in Rutgers Football history. Here are the results with some thoughts below. If votes and my thoughts aren’t enough ...
Best pass rusher in Rutgers football history
This poll is closed
John Alexander (the 1918 one)
Mike Pellowski (the non-Ogre)
Nate Toran (how can he not be?)
Dan Gray (29 shades of ... )
Dino Mangiero, cooler than any nickname.
Bill Pickel (the Raider and later Jet)
Shawn Williams (the outlier)
Ryan Neill (the trailblazer)
Jamaal Westerman (North-South defender)
Kemoko Turay (the Dragon)
Gold: Nate Toran. 33% of the vote.
It was good to see that our voters are smart and don’t just ask, what have you done for me lately? There is simply no way to argue the production even adjusting for era, team success etc. 52 career sacks including seasons of 19, 17, and 16, the three best individual seasons in school history is incredible. Any doubt should be erased by the fact that he was the best player on possibly the best team (hard to argue undefeated) in 1976. Of all the polls we had, this was the first place finisher I was the most convinced of.
Silver: Jamaal Westerman. 21% of the vote.
At OTB this week we talked, Sweden, Scotland, and Canada. Westerman played his final three seasons of High School in Ontario after coming from New York City. At Rutgers during his freshman season of 2005, he was not forced into action as Ryan Neill and Val Barnaby each totaled 10.0 sacks for the campaign that saw the Scarlet Knights reach only their second bowl game in school history. From there, Jamaal became a cornerstone of the slightly undersized yet very quick for their position defenses of the remainder of the decade. In terms of impact as a disruptor in my lifetime watching, he was the best on the defensive line at RU.
Though he never cracked double digits for a single-season, he was consistent enough to finish tied for third in career quarterback takedowns. He certainly passed the eye test and drew enough attention that it allowed many other defensive linemen to develop alongside him and primarily All-American Eric Foster. Thought to be too small to be a defensive end in the NFL, Westerman was not drafted. After signing as a free agent, he played on a Jets team that went to back to back AFC Championship games as a situational pass rusher, a hybrid linebacker/D-end. After six other NFL stops, Jamaal returned to Canada where he led the league in sacks with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Now with Montreal, he continues to produce at age 33 tallying a sack in last Friday’s contest.
Bronze: Kemoko Turay. 19% of the vote.
With a late push, perhaps boosted by jerseyhalofansince82‘s confidence, the Kemoko Dragon vaulted himself into third place. Our friends at Stampede Blue agree. Everyone who reads this site had a front row seat to the up and down career of Turay that culminated in a solid, albeit unspectacular 2017 senior season. Much has been written about Turay’s rise from nowhere to different maker as a redshirt freshman, terrorizing Connor Halliday in the season opener at Washington State in 2014. After that there were moments of awesome mixed with injuries and a lot of double teams. The potential is surely there for him to erupt as a pro and we will only truly be able to gauge how much the Scarlet Knights miss him when they take the field in 2018.
Notable: Bill Pickel was passed late, but earned a solid fourth. It’s surprising he didn’t have more sacks at Rutgers with the numbers he put up in the NFL, likely the reason he was on the outside looking in. Dino Mangiero only got seven votes despite putting up stats at RU and having an NFL career a notch below Pickel’s. Mangiero was a better run stuffer at the pro level despite his gaudy 14 sack campaign at RU.
Missing in action: Rob Sneathen got some love in the comments section which was nice to see, but Dan Gray with one vote? Fans must really have felt that he benefitted by playing alongside some other sack artists to free himself up.
Surprising a protest did not erupt that Eric Foster was not a candidate. The undersized All-American was literally the leader of the chop.
Thanks for participating and look for another opportunity to vote this Wednesday. The category this week is the most off the field success, so it’s going to be a tough one! The hint for this week’s movie theme is fireball ... fireball ... fireball!!
For all those who continue to vote, comment, and shake off criticism ...