4. Rutgers Scarlet Knights College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense might not have been anything special overall – allowing 449 yards and 32 points per game – but it did a fantastic job of taking the ball away. A slew of the big plays might have come against Michigan State, but overall the D was good at getting into the backfield and bringing the pressure.
Michael Dwumfour is gone from the defensive interior and decent safety Brendon White is finished, but just about everyone else of note returns. However …
– A whole lot of backup defensive linemen are taking off in the transfer portal, but landing pass rushing tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh from Temple is a huge help. Mike Tverdov is the best pass rushing end, and Julius Turner is a quick tackle who can get behind the line, but he gets banged on. There’s not a lot of giant thump for the inside, and that has to be where Maijeh and 300-pound sophomore Ireland Burke come in.
– The linebacking corps should be one of the team’s biggest strengths around 6-2, 240-pound senior Olakunle Fatukasi and his 101 tackles. 245-pound Tyshon Fogg led the team in stops in 2019 and was second last year, and Mohamed Toure led the D with 4.5 sacks.
The Scarlet Knights have a part of honorable mention All-Big Ten corners in Avery Young and Tre Avery – Young was fourth on the team in tackles with 58 – and Christian Izien is a tough safety for his size with four interceptions and finishing third with 66 stops.