July 18, 2019 | 81° F

Rutgers announces 22-member recruitment class

Knights welcome fresh faces to the Banks

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

In what has been a big week for the Rutgers football team, National Signing Day has come and gone, and the Scarlet Knights are now stacked and set for the upcoming season.

On Wednesday, Rutgers announced signings of letters of intent by 22 members of the Class of 2018, including six student athletes from New Jersey. 

On the same day, the Knights announced the addition of former Bergen Catholic head coach Nunzio Campanile to their sideline as the new running backs coach. They have now added two running back recruits to work directly under him.

"I'd like to welcome Nunzio Campanile to our staff," said head coach Chris Ash. "During our two years here I have watched him work and witnessed his passion for the game. He has great relationships with his players and great respect from people all across this state. I look forward to having him help us move our program forward."

Isaih Pacheco, a 5-foot-11-inch, 190-pound, three-star player from Vineland High School South, and 6-foot, 220-pound Boston College transfer Jonathan Hilliman round out the incoming backs for Campanile. 

Pacheco and Hilliman will join a running backs corps that certainly needs some help from some fresh faces, as it will be losing graduating fifth-year senior and starting running back Gus Edwards.

Pacheco played three positions during his senior year with the Fighting Clan, serving as team captain and leading the team to an 8-2 record. He rushed 154 times for 1,414 yards and 18 touchdowns, leading to being named part of the South Jersey Times All-Area offensive team.

Last season with the Eagles, Hilliman posted some solid numbers, rushing for 638 yards on 167 attempts and 5 touchdowns, while also catching 24 passes for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns.

“It’s time to come home,” Hilliman said to NJ Advance Media last month. “I’m needed and couldn’t be happier to help lead this team into postseason play.”

Both Pacheco and Hilliman are among the 10 other signees who enrolled into the University in January, and will be able to participate in spring practice beginning in March.

Another two signees who will participate in spring training are quarterbacks Jalen Chatman of Narbonne High School and Inglewood, California and Artur Sitkowski of IMG Academy and Old Bridge, New Jersey.

Chatman, a 6-foot-1-inch, 180-pound, three-star signee, committed to the team after throwing 3,133 yards off of 56-percent completions and 29 touchdowns as a senior. He led the Gauchos to a 12-3 record and a come-from-behind win in the Division I-A CIF State Championship last year, before being selected to play in the 2017 Blue-Grey All-American Bowl.

After transferring to IMG Academy from Old Bridge High School for his senior year, Sitkowski helped the Ascenders go 9-0. In seven games of action, he threw for 370 yards and 2 touchdowns by completing nearly 57 percent of his passes.

Both Chatman and Sitkowski, and Pacheco and Hilliman will all be supervised by another new addition to the teams coaching staff, in newly named offensive coordinator, John McNulty.

McNulty, Campanile and new defensive line coach Corey Brown round out the offseason coaching hires by Ash. The sideline is now set with a 10-coach staff and the 22 newly signed recruits.

Rutgers reached across the world to fill out its recruitment class, signing two international players in Robin Jutwreten from Sweden and Adam Korsak from Australia.

Jutwreten is a big 6-foot-5-inch, 235-pound defensive end that was found by Brandon Collier, an international football scout who held a camp out in Sweden. Although Jutwreten wasn’t actually at the camp due to other responsibilities, he was scouted at a practice with the Swedish national team.

Collier claimed to NJ Advance Media that Jutwreten “ran a 4.62 laser which is probably a 4.5 hand-timed 40,” and that “if you had this guy at Don Bosco, he’s picking any school he wants to go to,” — which are certainly words you want to hear about a player you got from approximately 4,000 miles away.

Korsak is a 6-foot-2-inch, 190-pound punter from Melbourne, and has experience playing at Maribyrnong College and Victoria University in the past. He also enrolled at the University in January and will be ready for spring football.

With spring practice beginning in just a few short weeks and both the signees and coaching staff set in stone, the Knights look to get ready for what is sure to be another tough Big Ten season on the Banks.

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @cgreen204 and @TargumSports on Twitter.

Coby Green

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