The new Rutgers football coaching staff is getting more results on the recruiting trail heading into the early signing period next week and received their tenth commit of the 2020 recruiting class. The Scarlet Knights secured a verbal commitment from Tunde Fatukasi of Erasmus Hall on Tuesday:
First, I would like to thank god for the abilities he’s blessed me with. E-Hall for molding me into the player I am today & my family for being there every step throughout the way. With that being said I’ll be committing to Rutgers University #ChopNationIsBack ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/XDetctU3uC— Tunde Fatukasi (@TundeFatukasi) December 10, 2019
Rutgers was the 1st power five conference school to offer Tunde per 247sports on December 3, but late strong interest is expected as we get closer to signing day. At 6’4” and 295 pounds, Fatukasi is a solid three-star prospect, the 14th best in New York and 109th best offensive guard nationally for the 2020 class according to 247 sports.
Tunde is rated surprisingly low based on his size and pedigree. He plays bigger and stronger than he looks just like his brothers Olakunle (starting OLB at Rutgers) and Foley (DL for the New York Jets). He moves well for someone of his size now as a senior, although on his earlier film not so much. You can see how as a younger player he just leaned his weight on people, didn’t move his feet well, and did not always finish plays. As a senior he is getting low to drive people, plowing defenders over to pancake them, getting out on screens, using his hands better, and simply demonstrating a higher level of fitness. HIs awareness is also dramatically different in space and picking up free rushers.
The main reasons I see his rating being so low are the following. First off, players projected as interior linemen are just rated lower because it’s easier for tackles to slide inside than vice versa generally speaking. Second despite the media market, New York City players don’t get as much exposure, especially linemen. Third and probably most important, is that his improvement since his junior and sophomore season (doesn’t even look like the same person) when most recruiting begins is quite impressive.
Fatukasi is at worst a solid three-star prospect who will compete hard in practice and provide depth on one or both lines like Ryan Brodie did in his career. Tunde most likely will be able to contribute on special teams by his redshirt sophomore season like Devon Watkis with a chance to compete for time on offense. Best case Tunde is already strong enough to immediately outpace his recruiting ranking like Kaleb Johnson and go to the NFL.
I like the pickup because it shows Rutgers is doing their homework to see players who really improve and develop. Again with linemen they are hardest to project of any position group, so it’s entirely possible that Tunde grows into a starter or even NFL player if he continues to put in the work. Rutgers also would benefit from some other younger brothers of current players following suit (Malachi Melton, Michael Alaimo, etc.). It demonstrates the sense of family and trust Greg Schiano is trying to instill. Olakunle has been exactly as advertised at Rutgers, a good soldier in the midst of all the upheaval, and Tunde should understand the finer points of being a big time player from his immediate family.
Fatukasi is the second Offensive Lineman in this class after Bryan Felter (note DL Isaiah Wright could also end up on offense). The ten total verbal commits (after Chris Long committed and Jerrold Pough decommitted earlier in the day) thus far each have a 3-star rating in the latest 247 composite rankings. With so few scholarships this cycle, it’s logical to be selective, but Rutgers needs more help on the offensive line than any other position group. You can never have enough.
Check out some highlights:
Welcome to the banks Tunde!