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Early Signing Period: Jack Del Rio Signs With Rutgers Football

Florida Linebacker brings needed athleticism to cover tight ends.

Rutgers v South Florida
Rutgers hasn’t had a true coverage linebacker like Jamal Merrell for a while.
Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

Even though Rutgers has plenty of Big Ten caliber talent at the linebacker position, Chris Ash really pressed for the services of Jack Del Rio and received a verbal commitment back in July. Greg Schiano honored the commitment and the outside ‘backer from Florida sent his letter of intent Wednesday.

Del Rio per 247 was officially the lowest rated recruit in this class as of Tuesday night. That doesn’t bother me though because having played at the speed of the game in Florida, he possesses the coverage skills to handle tight ends man to man and even contain slot receivers in zone packages. That doesn’t mean he can’t play the run, as he is a capable defender when the ball comes to his side or quarterbacks roll in that direction and he is in zone. Rutgers LBs have been pretty good the last three years, but their Achilles Heel has been in coverage. His offer list didn’t grow much in recent months as his recruitment was shut down as he stayed strong to Rutgers the entire time.

High School Position: OLB, TE, WR (6’3”, 215 lbs.)

Projected college position: Strong-side linebacker

High School: Clearwater Central Catholic

Hometown: Palm Harbor, FL

Most notable other offers: Colorado State, Southern Miss

Del Rio originally committed to Chris Ash, but was retained by Schiano and his staff as the only pure linebacker in the current class. Rutgers has all its contributors at all three linebacker positions on the two-deep returning at the moment, so even if we see attrition there will be a logjam for playing time in 2020. The good news is that linebacker is one of the few true Big Ten quality units on the roster. That said, they can always use bodies to play on special teams and 2021 will see the door open for more opportunities and you never know these days when your number will be called.

Floor: Eric Margolis

Most likely: Kevin Snyder

Potential: Kevin Malast

Check out his highlights below:

Stick with On the Banks all day for more National Signing Day coverage.