Report: Rutgers linebacker leaving early for NFL
Rutgers is going to have to find a new tackling machine.
Redshirt junior Steve Longa is reportedly declaring for the NFL draft, according to NJ.com.
“I feel like it’s time,” Longa told NJ.com. “I’m prepared. I had a very good season and I looked back after the season and I saw what I’ve accomplished throughout my career at Rutgers and I asked myself the question: Am I ready for the NFL? Is this the right time? I had to answer that question myself, not anybody else.
“And I felt like I was ready so that’s why I made the decision to leave.”
His motor certainly won’t be questioned come draft time.
Longa recorded three straight seasons of 100-plus tackles, which made him the second player in program history to do so. His 342 career tackles put him at eighth on the school’s all-time list.
The 6-1, 225-pound linebacker told NJ.com that he had received a draft evaluation, but that it didn’t have any impact on his decision to leave. The third-team All-B1G selection also said that the move wasn’t made because of the team hiring Chris Ash to replace Kyle Flood, who Longa played for his entire Rutgers career.
Replacing a guy that finished fifth in the country in solo tackles won’t be easy. Ash already dealt with the news over the weekend that former four-star defensive end Marques Ford was transferring.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft is Jan. 18.