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Rutgers lands two athletic tight ends in 2024 recruiting class



Offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca observes warm up exercises before Rutgers University football spring practice at Marco Battaglia Practice Complex in Piscataway, NJ Tuesday April 11, 2023. Photo credit Tanya Breen / USA TODAY NETWORK

If it wasn’t obvious already from Kirk Ciarrocca’s past work, the last couple of days served as an official spoiler alert into a major facet regarding his offensive system. Rutgers has landed commitments from two tight ends in the class of 2024 just as spring camp has ended. Prioritizing that position group within the offense is something that Ciarrocca has done throughout his career as a coordinator. It’s also an area RU has lacked depth in recently. It’s clear that Ciarrocca is addressing the need and is adding two intriguing players.

On Sunday, 3-star Monte Keener from Linden, Michigan committed to Rutgers. The 6’6″, 215 pound prospect held offers from fellow Big Ten schools Minnesota and Indiana, as well as multiple MAC programs and service academies. He also visited Michigan. However, Keener recently visited the program and only took a few days to ultimately decide to become a Scarlet Knight. Keener is a true athlete that plays both sides of the ball in high school, as well as multiple sports. He has the balanced skill set to become a capable blocking and catching tight end for Rutgers.

One day after Keener pledged to Rutgers, 3-star tight end Matthew Ogunniyi from Upper Marlboro, Maryland committed. The 6’5″, 205 pound prospect has receiver level skills as a pass catcher with good hands and speed. Todderick Hunt stated that Ogunniyi has run the 40 yard dash in 4.56 seconds. If he can add muscle to his tall frame and maintain his speed, he could become a major matchup problem in the passing attack for Rutgers in the future. His most notable offers among others are from Texas A&M and West Virginia.

It’s clear that Ciarrocca wanted to upgrade the athleticism and physicality in the tight end position. Adding Keener and Ogunniyi gives Rutgers two players who can be effective in run blocking and pass catching. Last season at Minnesota, tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford led the offense with 42 receptions and was second with 497 receiving yards as well as 2 touchdowns. That shows that Ciarrocca will prioritize the position much more so than it has been in recent years at Rutgers. While Johnny Langan was second last season with 31 catches, the position as a whole only made 34 catches combined. That was down from the previous season with 38 receptions from the tight end spot.

Rutgers’ 2024 recruiting class now has seven verbal commits, including three from the midwest. Keener joins fellow Michigan native and 4-star athlete Gabe Winowich, as well as Wisconsin 3-star linebacker Sam Pilof. Commits from New Jersey include QB AJ Surace, as well as linemen Kenny Jones and Judah Pruitt. All are rated 3-star prospects. Ogunniyi is RU’s fourth east coast recruit in the class, which is currently ranked No. 38 nationally and No. 9 in the Big Ten per 247 composite rankings. Rutgers will hope to add several top rated propsects who visited during the Scarlet-White Game this past weekend. Stay tuned.

You can watch Keener’s junior season highlights here and Ogunniyi’s junior season highlights here.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. thevinman

    May 2, 2023 at 11:58 am

    Good to see some tight ends commit, a position where Rutgers offense has been sorely lacking in talent. The look like they have good height but need to gain more weight, which shouldn’t be hard for high school kids with some 2 years before college.

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