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Commit alert! Rutgers Football gets verbal pledge from 3-star Cedrice Paillant

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Monroe College standout commits while on campus this weekend.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights v West Virginia Mountaineers
Both Stephenson and Stapleton were JUCOs who Schiano helped get to the NFL.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Rutgers football coaching staff continues to put work on the recruiting trail and hosts a number of official visitors this weekend. The hope is to get some (or all) of them to decide to come to Rutgers and sign as soon as Wednesday, the beginning of the early signing period. The Scarlet Knights secured a verbal commitment from one of them, Cedrice Paillant of New Rochelle by way of Monroe College, Friday:

Rutgers is believed to have been Cedrice’s 13th Division 1 offer per Hudl, though Rutgers is his first Power Five. At 6’5” and 305 pounds, Paillant is a high three-star prospect, the 4th best JUCO in New York for the 2020 class, the 15th best JUCO offensive tackle available according to the 247 composite which includes other sources.

Sometimes watching offensive tackle film is rather boring, but how can you not get excited watching defenders get tossed like rag dolls and some pancaking? Paillant looks good coming off the bus and in a lot of his film from Monroe College, opponents don’t even try to pass rush against him, knowing it’s useless. This allows him to throw some killer helper blocks that were absent on the banks in 2019 for the home team. In the run game he gets a lot of pancake blocks. Like, a lot a lot. His strength is apparent so even if he’s facing some of the better defensive lines in the country from four of RU’s division rivals, he won’t get pushed around. I’m shocked he didn’t have more interest and it seems so is 247 sports with his 0.8500 rating.

Cedrice should possess the necessary size and strength to battle for a spot in the two-deep right away at guard and possibly tackle. Looking at his size, I was surprised he could move as well as he did while playing left tackle. He does a good job keeping his feet squarely under his shoulders though at times he might get his hands a little too far outside a defenders pads, so without focus could get some flags thrown on him. There is a chance he can play left tackle at Rutgers which would be a huge boon because then Raiqwon O’Neal could move to right tackle or even guard which may be a better spot for him. At guard, Cedrice possesses a lot more mobility when pulling than you would expect as well. There is a slight hint of him leaning a little soon at times that could be a risk against quick, long armed defenders, but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. No one on the current Rutgers squad can pull with has much force with a combo of acceleration and punch as Paillant I don’t believe. He plays to the whistle and I doubt the guys opposite him in practice will leave without feeling sore every day.

Paillant is at worst a solid three-star prospect who will compete hard in practice and provide depth for his two years of remaining eligibility like Omari Cooper looks ticketed to do. Cedric most likely will be pushing for a starting position though late in training camp like Cam Stephenson did when he arrived at Rutgers. Best case Cedric is a starter as soon as he arrives like Darnell Stapleton was out of Junior College. I don’t love the idea of adding players (especially linemen) with so little eligibility during a rebuild, but this is an area we have to trust Schiano who has a track record better than most coaches of identifying offensive linemen who developed late.

I like the pickup because Rutgers needs some real impact linemen. I’ve always been a believer that you need at least two above average run blockers AND two above average pass blockers on your offensive line (which could be the same two individuals). Then you can fill in the rest of the spots with guys who are average at worst in both facets. Rutgers has a lot of offensive linemen who are serviceable in the two-deep, but no one in 2019 was really able to shove people back or be totally isolated in pass protection. The hope is that one of these commits can give them that jolt right away. Cedrice could be above average in pass protection at guard and elite in the run game at a variety of positions. It’s also nice to get a guy from New Rochelle, a town that also produced Ray Rice, Glen Lee, and Courtney Greene for the previous Schiano regime.

Paillant is the fourth offensive lineman in this class (now that Isaiah Wright seems ticketed for offense). The fourteen total verbal commits thus far each have a 3-star rating in the latest 247 composite rankings that has seen Rutgers skyrocket from 105th about a week ago to a respectable 66th. The coaching staff knows that to get as many linemen who can shove people around as possible to compete in the Big Ten trenches.

Here are some of Paillant’s highlights:

Welcome to the banks Cedrice!