Rutgers' TJ Taylor receives up-close attention in transition to linebacker
By Tyler Barto
Along the back left corner of Rutgers' F3 practice field, linebackers coach Bob Fraser takes TJ Taylor and Myles Nash — two young players he might have to rely on — aside, motioning intently with his hands as others look on.
Two handheld blocking bags lay at Fraser's feet. It's an example of the type of investment Rutgers hopes will pay off will Taylor, a 190-pounder still getting used to playing in the box.
"He's always on my back, (like), 'When are you free? What's your schedule like?' He always makes himself available, so that helps a lot," Taylor said Tuesday of Fraser. "Even quick 30-second meetings after the meeting, talking about little things."
Rutgers is turning to Taylor in other ways, too. Despite being on campus for less than a year, Taylor has already hosted a recruit.
"I know what he's going through," Taylor said. "I know what's going through his head and what he's looking at as a program. I feel like it's good because I can tell him things I wanted to hear. ... I was asking him the same things in my position."
Rutgers likely hopes that familiarity pays off with Dontae Strickland, Taylor's teammate at South Brunswick High who's up to 10 offers, according to rivals.com. Strickland has visited Rutgers several times lately, according to various reports.
A commitment from Strickland, a running back, could go a long way toward shoring up Rutgers' in-state recruiting.
Rutgers already has seven commits in its class of 2015, including five within the last week and a half.