As Rutgers prepares for their season-finale against Nebraska on Friday night, the team had some more good news to announce.
After a successful signing period beginning on Wednesday, the Scarlet Knights were not done adding talent. Rutgers landed Temple transfer Ifeanyi Maijeh on Friday afternoon, announced by both Maijeh and Greg Schiano.
Maijeh has two years of eligibility left and will be eligible to play come the 2021 season. He is now the 24th player that was able to put the pen to paper during the early signing period for the Scarlet Knights.
The defensive line for Rutgers just got a huge upgrade. As a sophomore in 2019, Maijeh was named First Team All-AAC after totaling 10 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks for the Owls. In 2020, Maijeh struggled to find the same success after being named to watch lists for the Bednarik Award (nation’s top defender), Nagurski Award (nation’s top defensive player), and Outland Trophy (nation’s top interior lineman). He finished with just half a tackle for loss and no sacks.
Maijeh will reunite with many people by joining the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers’ defensive line coach Jim Panagos had a hand in initially recruiting Maijeh to Temple. Also, Maijeh is the cousin of the current Big Ten leader in tackles, Olakunle Fatukasi.
Schiano has made it clear that he is interested in adding talent across the defensive line. This is a position he feels is important and really targeted it with the current recruiting class.
“I think the defensive line is the most important position, other than quarterback, in your program,” Schiano said during his press conference on Wednesday. “If you have a tough defensive line, it makes your entire program tough. It makes your offensive line tougher, which in turn, when you have o-line vs. d-line battles, it makes your running backs and linebackers tougher. Everything stems off that defensive line, so I consider it a must to go recruit defensive linemen every year. Big people who can move are really hard to find. When you get one that you think is a cultural fit, you have to go as hard as you can.”
Looking ahead, Maijeh will join a defensive line that includes Michael Dwumfour and Julius Turner on the interior. Mike Tverdov could return to the outside while Fatukasi and Tyshon Fogg man the linebacker position. The Scarlet Knights are beginning to put together an impressive looking defense.