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  Not long after he took the Rutgers job in December 2019, Greg Schiano went to the film room for a scouting expedition. The purpose, the Scarlet Knights coach said, was to take a deep dive into his team's top players in order to figure out what his program needed longterm on the recruiting trail. One of the first players he studied was a weak-linebacker who finished second on the team in tackles in 2019. "I thought he closed the ground to the ball carrier very quickly. He had a good accelerator. There were some things we wanted to correct, some fundamentals, but overall we saw a very talented player," Schiano said. This was Schiano's first impression of Olakunle Fatukasi, who would end up leading the Big Ten in tackles last season. "He led the Big Ten in tackles but more than that he's a student of the game," said Schiano, whose Scarlet Knights held their first preseason-camp practice Tuesday in preparation for the 2021 season. "He's going to be a really, really fine professional football player because he loves it, he studies it, he lives the game, and takes care of himself the way that a pro football player takes care of himself. So he's a great example, not only his production on the field, but he's a great example for our younger players and for our newcomers that are just starting with us."

Schiano brought in more than two dozen newcomers as part of Rutgers' recruiting class this offseason. But he said "the biggest recruit we signed this year" was Fatukasi, who opted to return for his fifth-year senior campaign rather than enter the 2021 NFL Draft. "It wasn't a tough decision at all," Fatukasi said, reiterating the tweet he sent out to announced his return following his All-Big Ten campaign. "Unfinished business. I wanted to get better as a football player, I wanted to be a better leader, a better teammate, and know the playbook better. Still not done yet," the Scarlet Knight nicknamed "O3?" said. - Star Ledger


(DS#19 ILB) rSr/2022 ILB Olakunle FatukasiRutgers
News Source: Star Ledger


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