In Greg Schiano’s first two seasons back at Rutgers in 2020 and 2021, the most productive edge rusher on defense was Mohamed Toure. The Pleasantville, New Jersey native had arrived in the program one year before Schiano returned. However, the linebacker blossomed and helped fill a major need for the defense.
His versatile skill set allowed him to line up along the defensive line on the edge for then defensive coordinator Robb Smith. Toure led Rutgers in back to back seasons with 4.5 sacks apiece. In 2021, he registered 52 total tackles and delivered a tackle for loss in eight of 13 games played. On just eight days notice, Toure led Rutgers with seven tackles and 1.5 sacks in the loss to No. 20 Wake Forest in the Gator Bowl.
Unfortunately, Toure suffered a torn ACL injury that ended his season before it began during spring camp last year. The good news is that Schiano indicated that Toure along with former 4-star linebacker Moses Walker, who suffered the same injury, are both practicing this spring.
“Moses Walker and Mo are full go,” Schiano said. “They’re not 100%. They’re working their way back to being (100%). So very encouraged here.”
When asked about what excites him most about Toure’s return to the field, Schiano gave his most enthusiastic answer of the first media session of spring practice.
“Everything. He was such a multi-dimensional player,” Schiano explained. “It wasn’t only on defense and on third down. He’s the best left guard in the country I think on punt team. This guy is a phenomenal player. He’s bigger, he’s stronger than he was. I’m really excited about getting Mo back. He was a huge loss.”
Rutgers struggled in its pass rush and missing Toure was certainly a factor. Schiano touched on Toure’s impact on special teams as well. It was certainly a down year for that unit last season, both for return and coverage teams.
Not only is the defense getting it’s most productive pass rusher back for next season, but Toure has a chance to be a leader on the field. He’s entering his fifth year with the program despite only playing full-time for two seasons.
For second year defensive coordinator Joe Harasymiak, having Toure active for the first time in his tenure has to be a welcomed addition. Depth is so crucial along the defensive line and pressuring the quarterback is a premium skill. Toure is primed to provide both for a defense that took steps forward despite his absence last season.
In dealing with adversity through battling back from injury, Toure will have an opportunity to have his most impactful season this fall.
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