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Commit Alert: Rutgers Football gets verbal pledge from 3-star recruit Chris Long

Willingboro athlete is expected to line up at wide receiver.

Ohio State v Rutgers
Melton could use some help on the perimeter.
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The new Rutgers football coaching staff is seeing more results on the recruiting trail heading into the early signing period next week and received their tenth current commit of the 2020 recruiting class. The Scarlet Knights secured a verbal commitment from Chris Long of Willingboro on Tuesday:

Chris was previously committed to Temple, though Rutgers and ten other Power Five schools had offered at one point or another. New Rutgers defensive backs coach Fran Brown was his primary recruiter while at Temple. At 6’0” and 160 pounds, Long is a solid three-star prospect, the 20th best in New Jersey and 49th best athlete nationally for the 2020 class according to the 247 composite which includes rankings from other recruiting services.

There are a lot of plusses for Chris. He likes to be physical with much bigger players on both offense and defense. He tracks the ball well on both sides of the ball, too. For example on fade routes and deep outs he has excellent timing and view of the ball even when DBs are giving him cushion. He fights through defenders (or opposing receivers) to win those 50-50 balls. DBs seriously respect his quickness because they usually play 10 yards off him willing to surrender screen passes at will for fear of the big play. He has impressive leg strength and defenders trying to grab him around the thighs usually get dragged for extra yardage. He does a good job of maximizing his stride and staying at a high speed with and without the ball.

Long is by no means a finished product. At times he is guilty of pinning the ball to his chest rather than snatching it out of the air with his hands. His hands will get stronger as the rest of his currently lesser developed frame does as well. At times he gets hit quite hard by defenders when trying to fight for a few extra inches so he needs to be careful to avoid putting the ball on the turf like we saw Isaiah Washington do twice recently. Chris also at times has some wasted movement while trying to juke people which may prevent him from diving directly forward for extra yards.

Long’s vision with the ball at the high school level is above average, similar to Eddie Lewis, though we haven’t see Eddie shake loose in open space at the college level, so time will tell. Chris also doesn’t seem to be running that fast when he is going straight yet he does run away from defenders, so it’s hard to gauge his straight line speed on film. His highlights include a number of different routes, but it’s hard to tell how many of those he is polished on (some glimpses of excellence) at this point in time. This will be critical because the quality of cornerbacks he will be facing in the Big Ten is a huge jump. Rutgers tried to add a lot of receivers in the last few years that don’t possess elite size and of the eight or so on scholarship, only Bo Melton can reliably defeat press coverage regularly.

Long is at worst a solid three-star prospect who will compete hard in practice and provide depth at wide receiver like K.J. Stroud did in his career. Chris most likely will be able to contribute in the wide receiver rotation sub packages by his second season like Shameen Jones with hopefully more receiving opportunities. Best case Chris is a serious threat as a receiver after the catch and on special teams, a great overall football player like Quron Pratt.

I love the pickup because local guys with this many Power Five offers don’t normally get added this close to signing day. Eleven Power Five offers is impressive, especially when you aren’t someone who is off the charts with your measurables like height, weight, wingspan, etc. There’s no guarantee he will pan out as he needs to get stronger without losing a step, but these are the type of players Maryland has an endless supply of and have devastated RU with big plays in recent years. Long leads South Jersey in several receiving categories as well, so his skills have translated to production.

Long is the second Wide Receiver in this class (after Ahmirr Robinson). The ten total verbal commits (this number has remained steady with the commits/decommits over the past few weeks) thus far each have a 3-star rating in the latest 247 composite rankings. This includes Tunde Fatukasi who committed later on Tuesday. With so little time and few scholarships this cycle, it’s obvious the coaching staff knows that to get better they need to prioritize the passing game.

Check out some highlights:

Welcome to the banks Chris!