A busy week for Rutgers Football continued Saturday, with Greg Schiano and a number of prospects on campus for official visits as well as perhaps more importantly, the re-addition of Jim Panagos as the defensive line coach. When looking back at what went wrong at the beginning of the Chris Ash era, not retaining Kyle Flood’s defensive line coach Jim Panagos is always near the top of the list. Panagos, who currently serves as a defensive line coach on P.J. Fleck’s staff at Minnesota (though they removed him from their website already), will return to the banks in 2020 to work under Schiano.
I wouldn’t call it shocking to see Panagos return to the banks, but he is leaving a Gopher team that had their best season in 60 years to come to RU. If Rutgers is going to live and die with quick, undersized defensive linemen, it’s critical someone with success in that type of style of play is brought in and Jim fits the bill. Panagos is considered a strong recruiter and developer of players with his biggest transformation of an individual being Kemoko Turay who went from one season of high school football to 2nd round NFL draft pick.
First reported by Schiano himself, after playing at Maryland, Panagos coached with the Minnesota Vikings before serving as the UCF defensive line coach for five seasons. This included their Bowl loss to Rutgers in the then St. Petersburg Bowl in 2009. Jim then joined Rutgers for the entirety of Kyle Flood’s tenure as head coach from 2012-2015. After non being retained by Ash, he went to Pittsburgh as a volunteer coach before starring at Temple and being a semi-finalist for the Broyles award given to the nation’s top assistant coach in 2017. For his efforts he was named assistant head coach in 2018 before working this past year on PJ Fleck’s Gophers squad that shocked everybody by reaching eighth in the College Football Playoff Rankings after their 9-0 start.
The lack of development, especially in the trenches is one of the biggest factors that doomed Rutgers the last few years, particularly the last two when the team failed to win a Big Ten game. Several Panagos pupils were rumored as candidates for jobs on the staff, like Scott Vallone, but to get the man himself is a steal. Speaking of which, Panagos was the lead recruiter at Minnesota for current recruiting target Jah Joyner who is believed to be choosing between Minnesota, Rutgers, and Boston College, so the next few days will be interesting to watch.
There’s no two ways about it, this is yet another slam dunk hire regardless of who is ultimately the defensive coordinator of the team. Jim is the 4th member of the on field staff joining Nunzio Campanile, Fran Brown, and Schiano himself which still leaves seven (mistake in previous version of this article) open positions.
Welcome back to the banks Jim!