The current Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team reportedly received more good news Wednesday on the heels of a commit from quarterback Evan Simon earlier in the week. This time it is word that incoming transfers Matt Alaimo (UCLA) and Drew Singleton (Michigan) will be eligible to play in 2019 without having to sit out due to (old) NCAA transfer rules. Both are New Jersey natives who are expected to provide big contributions this fall. NJ.com reported this in an article by James Kratch in tandem with Todderick Hunt.
Singleton (Paramus Catholic) is a former top overall recruit in the state of New Jersey who began his career elsewhere in the Big Ten, with the Wolverines. After being in the mix for a starting spot at linebacker at Michigan in 2018 training camp, he ended up falling out of the two-deep. Before midseason he elected to depart from the program and he said that Michigan signed off on his departure, which is required for intra-conference Big Ten transfers.
Singleton enrolled at Rutgers this spring semester and is part of a linebacker group that is certainly one of the top two position groups on the Scarlet roster. He has three years left to play and is primarily battling Olakunle Fatukasi for a starting role as the weak-side linebacker. Two-year starter Tyreek Maddox-Williams returns on the strong-side, while Tyshon Fogg is the odds-on favorite for middle linebacker spot that had been manned by Deonte Roberts for three seasons. Even if he doesn’t start the season opener, Drew may be the biggest x-factor on the Scarlet Knight defense this fall.
Matt Alaimo attended UCLA for just one semester, redshirting in 2018. Alaimo was a high three-star prospect out of St. Joseph’s (Montvale) and joins Rutgers with four years left to play. Matt is listed at the same weight (237 lb.) as converted quarterback Johnathan Lewis, and flashed catching ability on short patterns in high school that should translate to the Big Ten. Offensive Coordinator John McNulty acknowledged in his spring press conference that without Rutgers possessing big hulking tight ends, they will opt for more spreading out the defense to try and hit big run plays. The contingency plan of a committee approach, including Reggie Sutton as a 6th lineman, freshman defensive linemen Devin Baldwin or Rayyan Buell getting a role in short yardage, or simply not using tight ends as frequently may no longer be necessary.
The Tight End spot had virtually a complete overhaul since the fall, after RU lost Nakia Griffin-Stewart (Pitt), Jerome Washington (NFL’s Cardinals), fullback Max Anthony (Albany), and in all likelihood Travis Vokolek (entered transfer portal). In their place on scholarship, Rutgers has Lewis who started playing tight end during the middle of the 2018 season, Alaimo now that he’s eligible, and graduate transfer Kyle Penniston from Wisconsin. Unlike initially feared, tight end should not be what is holding Rutgers’s offense back in 2019.
Johnny Langan, the third of the local trio to return to the Garden State, is still pending review of his application. We will provide more updates on him as details become available.
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Will Alaimo and Singleton eligible result in actual on field 2019 wins?
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