Rutgers has brought in some significant pieces to the offense line in recent weeks. It makes sense that they would lose some along the way — and it is a big one. Raiqwon O’Neal has entered the transfer portal and will be on the lookout for his next home.
I’m Not Done Yet… Beyond Blessed For A New Opportunity pic.twitter.com/NX3RrWUfNu— Raiqwon O’Neal (@RaiqwonONeal) January 20, 2022
O’Neal started 21 games at left tackle for the Scarlet Knights. He will have plenty of interest from other Division I programs right away.
He has two years of eligibility left. This decision comes as a bit of a surprise but the Scarlet Knights have made it a point to build the offensive line this offseason.
Minnesota’s Curtis Dunlap Jr. leads a group of four transfers that will join Rutgers next season. Mike Ciaffroni (Colorado State), J.D. DiRenzo (Sacred Heart), and Willie Tyler (Louisiana-Monroe) will also be in the mix.
Dunlap Jr. will compete for a starting spot at guard while Tyler has a chance to be a tackle. DiRenzo, an FCS All-American, has a good chance to start as well. These four transfers will be accompanied by a talented recruiting class that feature one of the best players in New Jersey — Jacob Allen.
The NCAA transfer portal has basically turned into a free-agent period for college athletes. This offseason, Rutgers has taken advantage at times but has now lost a key piece of the offensive line. This is in addition to the surprise decision made by Alijah Clark just two days ago. The defensive back will also look for a new home in the transfer portal.
Hollin Pierce is set to return for the 2022-2023 season as an established starter along the offensive line. Reggie Sutton returns from injury and hopefully will regain his form. Gus Zilinskas started at center at the end of last season and returns as well. So does Troy Rainey, who replaced Sutton and started the second half of the season.
The Scarlet Knights will have to rework the offensive line overall and still have intriguing pieces to fill out the position despite the loss of O’Neal.
For more on the expectations for the offensive line next season, here is a comprehensive look at the position group.