Rutgers officially signed kicker Jai Patel, who joins the program as a preferred walk-on, as part of the 2022 recruiting class. He was given an official announcement by the program along with the 18 scholarship players who signed on Wednesday.
The South Brunswick native is joining the program as a preferred walk-on with the opportunity to earn a scholarship if he ultimately wins the starting job. This is typical of how head coach Greg Schiano handled specialist roles in his first tenure. It makes sense he would do the same now, especially with fewer scholarships available with the 2022 class.
Patel performed well prior to the season during a specialists camp at Rutgers and was pursued by the current coaching staff since their arrival. Although he made visits to N.C. State and Charlotte, Patel decided to stay home and become a Scarlet Knight.
He is rated a 5-star kicker and 3-star punter per Kohl’s Kicking and rated the 37th best kicker overall in 2022 class.
The walk-on made 9 of 12 field goal attempts in his senior season at South Brunswick this past fall with a long of 45 yards. He was a perfect 23 of 23 with extra point attempts. Patel was named to the Big Central Conference’s All-Division 5C first team for the 2021 season.
With incumbent starter Valentino Ambrosio set to return next season, it remains to be seen whether Patel can challenge him right away. Even so, Patel adds talent and depth to the kicking group from day one of his arrival.
Floor: David Bonagura
Most likely: Tom Angstadt
Potential: Kyle Federico
For his senior season highlights, click here.