The Rutgers football coaching staff continues a busy stretch of recruiting by getting another commit in the 2020 recruiting class, its second safety of the week. The Scarlet Knights secured a verbal commitment from Jerrold Pough of McArthur (Hollywood, FL) on Friday:
Respect my decision @JayValai @NoJoFootball @SleeperAth1etes New Jersey wake up pic.twitter.com/bEzKfKDtNS— jerrold pough (@mr_hendrixx) June 29, 2019
Rutgers is one of 19 power five conference schools (27 total!) to offer Jerrold per 247sports, including Michigan, Oregon, South Carolina, and LSU. At 6’0” and 170 pounds, Pough is a solid three-star prospect, the 197th best in Florida (still saying something) and 99th best safety nationally for the 2020 class according to the 247 composite which includes other sources. These rankings are somewhat laughable considering how extensive his offer list is.
While studying his film, Jerrold got so many offers because he can play cornerback and reads quarterbacks extremely well. You see his interceptions come from leaving his man if he has help or assisting on another man without vacating his man until he’s sure where the ball is going. Instincts are very tough to teach and he seems to have them already against the pass and even a few times calling out a specific run play even before the snap. He has good length and is in the mold of a Blessuan Austin and Damon Hayes that Chris Ash and his staff have had so much success with at cornerback. Like both players mentioned, Jerrold plays the ball in the air quite well so opponents should shy away from chucking up 50-50 balls. He’s stronger than he looks and does a great job keeping an arm free whether is be to get off a block or deflect a ball away.
The reason Pough’s recruiting ranking is not higher is maybe just due to the wealth of talent in his area and his slight frame at the moment. The other things I see on film is that he might not have an elite 40, as in he doesn’t possess breakaway straight line speed. His quickness is also not elite, but it’s hard to gauge how much of that is because his instincts are just so good. This is probably why he is listed as a safety and not a corner even though his coverage skills are solid enough to be a cornerback. As a safety, he is not an elite tackler yet but seems to have the desire to hit people and with more time near the ball should get better at wrapping up. Though he had a higher rating with less offers, these are many of the same questions people had about Logan Ryan and that worked out pretty well.
Pough is at worst a solid three-star prospect who will compete hard in practice and provide depth in the defensive backfield like Patrick Kivlehan did in his career. Pough most likely will be able to contribute on special teams as a redshirt freshman and in the defensive back rotation by his redshirt sophomore season like Gareef Glashen. Best case Jerrold is like Damon Hayes and is in the two-deep as soon as his first training camp starts, contributing at slot corner as a true freshman.
As mentioned with the addition of Elijuwan Mack earlier this week, I like the pickup because Rutgers has struggled to stock their safety depth for a variety of reasons. For a safety his skillset is almost the polar opposite of Mack right now, but Pough could become elite in the pass and/or run game. And if he can play corner, a position of need, this is a steal. We should know pretty quickly if he is a fluid enough athlete to be a corner.
In this recruiting situation, Pough could have gone a lot of places and yet chose Rutgers seemingly because he wants to be a guy that is a reason the program returns to some level of glory. He really wanted to commit to RU, otherwise he had plenty of teams he could pick, surely later in the game if he chose to wait. That’s the type of attitude and player the Scarlet Knights need to drive the program forward.
Pough is the second defensive back in this class after Mack. Sofian Massoud could also end up there as an excellent athlete, but Rutgers recruited him at quarterback. The eight total verbal commits thus far each have a 3-star rating in the latest 247 composite rankings.
Check out some highlights:
Welcome to the banks Jerrold!