The new Rutgers football coaching staff continues to be on fire heading into the early signing period next week and received their eleventh current commit of the 2020 recruiting class (third in the last 24 hours). The Scarlet Knights secured a verbal commitment from Malachi “Max” Melton of Cedar Creek on Wednesday. It’s the second straight day that Rutgers got a commitment from the younger brother of a current member of the team after Tunde Fatukasi yesterday:
“Max” was previously committed to Purdue, though Rutgers and Boston College had also offered from the Power Five. New Rutgers defensive backs coach Fran Brown was his primary recruiter while at Temple (who also offered) and likely was heavily involved in this flip. At 5’11” and 165 pounds, Melton is a solid three-star prospect, the 23rd best in New Jersey and 75th best corner nationally for the 2020 class according to the 247 composite which includes rankings from other recruiting services.
Malachi’s strengths are obvious. It’s no surprise that the child of two Rutgers athletes (Gary in football, Vicky in basketball) possesses excellent balance, agility, quickness, and of course speed. Unlike some other film I’ve watched recently where there is some excess body movement while running, Max shows none of that which helps make him difficult to grab a hold of. He looks like a dynamic playmaker on offense and in the return game. Defensively, he has great closing speed/quickness. He high points the ball well and snags it in his hands, which he has to as a shorter player. He does know how to properly wrap and tackle, he doesn't just throw his shoulders at people.
Max is fast, but he is not big so he needs to get stronger without losing any speed and quickness. The level of competition is also a factor since it took his older brother at least a year to really adjust to the Big Ten. In coverage he has pretty good timing, but could be half a step slow against Big Ten quarterbacks. He looks comfortable in press coverage, but I’m not sure if he will have the strength to jam the bigger Big Ten receivers, so likely will begin in the slot. Other than adding strength, most of his skills are already there so we will probably know early in his career how good he can be which is mostly dependent on how his athleticism matches up against Big Ten personnel.
Melton is at worst a solid three-star prospect who will showcase speed on the scout team and provide depth at cornerback like Kobe Marfo did in his career. Max most likely will be able to contribute in the corner sub packages by his second season like Isaiah Wharton even if it’s just in the slot. Best case Max can play right out of the gate as a true freshman as we saw Damon Hayes do recently.
I love the pickup because it’s understandable even for local guys to prefer a Big Ten destination that has won more conference games the last two years. Max is the 3rd highest rated commit in the 2020 at RU class per 247 composite, so it’s clear RU is getting higher rated prospects under Schiano than were previously committed that want to be part of the resurgence. As mentioned with the Fatukasis, Bo Melton has also been a gold solider even when he has been underutilized throughout his career and would put up a lot more stats if he played in a functional passing game. He set a good example for his brother it seems and communicated how much effort will be required to bring Rutgers back to the Big Ten pack.
“Max” Melton is the first cornerback in this class. The eleven total verbal commits (this number has been up and down 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 Chris Long and Tunde Fatukasi who committed on Tuesday. With so little time and few scholarships this cycle, it’s obvious the coaching staff knows that cornerback and family are still a priority.
Check out some highlights:
Welcome to the banks “Max”!