Rutgers added its third player from the transfer portal this offseason with Mississippi defensive lineman Isaiah Iton committing to the program. Iton was on an official visit to Rutgers this weekend and made his decision before leaving.
— Isaiah.Iひ (@Isaiahiton2) January 9, 2023
Here are five things to know about defensive tackle Isaiah Iton.
Marquise Watson relationship key in his decision
Iton played at Ole Miss the past two seasons including 2021 when current Rutgers defensive line coach Marquise Watson served as a defensive analyst for the Rebels. It’s a big reason that Iton took his one and only official visit to Rutgers after entering the transfer portal last week. Watson has been a good hire by head coach Greg Schiano as that unit took a step forward last season. His recruiting chops have been a positive as well and landing Iton in another solid win on the recruiting trail.
Iton chose Rutgers over several P5 Offers
While Iton was a reserve for Ole Miss over the last two seasons, he was sought after as soon as he decided to enter the transfer portal. He reportedly held offers from Texas A&M, Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi State, UCF and Houston. For Rutgers to land a player out of the transfer portal with that type of options is impressive. Again, it goes back to relationships and Rutgers had it with Watson in regard to Iton.
Rutgers is his fourth school
Iton is originally from Pearland, Texas. He played one season at Northern Colorado before one season at JUCO power Hutchinson CC in Kansas. He was considered the top defensive lineman and No. 8 prospect overall in 2021 coming out of the JUCO ranks per 247 Sports. The 6’2″, 290 pounder landed at Ole Miss, choosing the Rebels over Florida State and Baylor. He played in 23 games over two seasons in which he had 24 tackles including 2.5 for loss.
Most productive game v. no. 1 Alabama
In 2021, Iton had his most productive game in the first start of his career. It came against then No. 1 Alabama on the road. He tied his career high with 4 tackles in 42-21 loss to the Crimson Tide.
Iton should challenge for starting role
With the loss of Ifeanyi Maijeh, it is expected that Iton will challenge for the starting 3-technique defensive tackle position for the 2023 season. He has one year of eligibility remaining and is looking to make the most of his final season of college football. His familiarity with Watson should help him hit the ground running this offseason. Iton joins Eric Rogers and Michael “Flip” Dixon as transfers who have landed at Rutgers this offseason. All three are expected to challenge for major roles next fall.
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