EDIT: A previous version of this post read, “Lumor has one year of eligibility remaining so if he does not hire an agent AND is not selected, would be allowed to return to Rutgers if he notifies the athletic director within 72 hours that he plans to return.” That no longer appears to be true and we will update with supporting documentation.
Robb Smith was announced as defensive coordinator yesterday and just hours after his hire, one of his projected starters appears to be leaving the program. Both NJ Advance Media AND The Knight Report received information that Rutgers Football’s multi-year starting defensive end Elorm Lumor has left the university to train for the NFL draft at Martinsville’s TEST Football Academy. Lumor has one year of eligibility remaining so if he does officially declare by January 17, he cannot return. At the moment, both reports indicate he is not currently enrolled at the school for the spring semester.
Lumor came to Rutgers from Piscataway High School by way of Milford Academy. He was the first verbal commit and “flip” (from Temple) for new Head Coach Chris Ash after he was hired in December 2015. After enrolling early in January 2016, Lumor redshirted as a true freshman before being thrust into the lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2017. Lumor started the season opener and two others while playing in all twelve contests.
Big things were expected in 2018 after the departure of Kemoko Turay to the NFL. Lumor battled injuries, but still started 10 of the 11 games he played. Elorm had seven tackles for loss including four sacks, the best probably being against Northwestern in the tweet below.
Elorm Lumor sacks Clayton Thorson on 2nd down, his third of the season. Rutgers then forces a three-and-out. The Scarlet Knights have some momentum. pic.twitter.com/Rwmvqyq2G4— Brian Fonseca (@briannnnf) October 20, 2018
The sack against Northwestern demonstrated a good feel for the snap count, quick first step, and a nice pass rush move with his hands to get free. Unfortunately, we did not see that enough from Lumor for him to really be a difference maker with the Scarlet Knights. For his career he has 83 tackles, 12.5 for loss, and eight sacks in 34 games. So other than that one video clip, there are not many highlights of Lumor over his career that you can find on the internet without breaking down individual game film.
Why Lumor could have a chance at the pros
It’s pretty clear from most of my articles that I did not view Elorm Lumor as having achieved impact player status no matter how much we hoped for it. Until midway through his redshirt sophomore season, I thought his first step was very slow. Even as he got off the ball quicker, it didn’t seem like opposing defenses had to scheme against him or send double teams. There was always the chance he would really break out, but the only time we saw it was maybe against Texas State.
All that being said, there is a possibility here it could work out and that’s probably why Lumor made this life decision. The NFL is about best case scenarios coupled with positional value and he plays the second most premium position there is (behind quarterback). It’s so premium that teams are so desperate to find help at edge rusher they overdraft players (New York Jets Jachai Polite) or pick up players with off the field baggage (Greg Hardy) that would never get a look if they played ANY other position on the field.
Off the field, Lumor appears to have been the total opposite of some of the problems listed above. He never was reported to have been in trouble outside the confines of the program. Rarely (possibly never) did a coach say publicly he was not getting the job done. Over his career you could see noticeable improvement year over year. That willingness to get better is what is most needed to continue on the growth path required for this to work out for Elorm.
So this mindset may be enough to get Lumor a tryout IF his underwear Olympics numbers are better than expected. I’m not expecting Turay-like freakish athleticism, but Elorm has good, albeit a notch below prototypical, size (6’3”, 248 lb.) and could have been slowed by injuries. Perhaps he is healthy and can shock people at Rutgers Pro Day like Carlton Agudosi did. Lumor played a lot more downs in his career on the banks than Agudosi, but both were limited by how bad Rutgers was at rushing the passer and passing the ball during their time respectively.
How many obvious passing situations did Lumor face to even register sacks? Was the RU scheme more for him to play run most of the time? Was he just injured? Would it matter? These are all interesting questions.
So maybe if he’s healthy and tests well, there’s a chance. I’m no NFL draft pundit, but Lumor will not get drafted barring some elite, and I mean elite numbers in the agility and speed drills. He simply doesn’t have the production on the field to back up even average performance in a power five conference. There’s a chance a team will sign him as an undrafted free agent, but more likely he would have to wait for a tryout at a rookie minicamp that would come more than 72 hours after the draft. For example, Kevin Wilkins is more of an interior guy, but he had good production in college and above average measurables yet still managed just a UDFA opportunity.
Who fills the role now that he is gone?
Rutgers has a lot of defensive ends on the roster and we have had plenty of debate as to how good they are. Regardless, Mike Tverdov is the incumbent at the strong-side defensive end spot with Jamree Kromah quickly rising up the depth chart. The weak-side currently includes a combination of Tijaun Mason, CJ Onyechi, Nihym Anderson, and some other converted linebackers. The silver lining here is that Mason probably has more physical upside than Lumor and this could be his opportunity to break out himself. Greg Schiano’s (and Robb Smith’s) scheme also calls for more pressure from linebackers.
Good luck Elorm!