Does your team’s quarterback return punts and kickoffs? The answer is probably not.
Rob Longerbeam is a quarterback, wide receiver, defensive back, a jack of all trades. Oh, and he is coming to Rutgers football.
Terrelle Pryor? Lamar Jackson? Rob Longerbeam?
Casually, Longerbeam has cut through his high school schedule like a Swiss Army knife. He compiled 1,596 passing yards, 16 touchdown passes, 683 rushing yards, 16 rushing touchdowns, and one punt return for a score.
Some see him as a Michael Vick, Terrell Pryor, Braxton Miller-type of player. Longerbeam is a guy who can change the dynamic of a game in just one series.
“I was always loved watching Lamar Jackson play,” Longerbeam said. “We’re both from Florida, so he’s always been the kind of person I looked up to.”
Longerbeam compares his game on the field to the former Louisville quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner. Off the field, he looks up to Jackson as well. Rutgers fans should be quite happy with the similarities.
“As a program we all have a lot to prove to the world, so everyone should have a chip on their shoulder really,” Longerbeam said.
There is not anything better than having a whole program of athletes on the same page, knowing that they are the turnaround; it starts with them. This is where head coach Greg Schiano can evoke a change of culture in a program.
It all starts with the guys incoming. If the upperclassmen truly see that they are buying into the coaching, then they will gladly jump on board. That may be the biggest hope for a program that hasn’t made a bowl game since 2014.
The Recruiting Process
Longerbeam had been originally committed to Temple and says co-defensive coordinator Fran Brown was a big part of that decision. When Brown would would later join the Rutgers staff, Longerbeam decided to do the same.
“Once I found out Coach Fran left, he was a big part of my reason for going to Temple,” Longerbeam said. “So then once I figured he was going to Rutgers, me and Coach Schiano had a little conversation. And from the first conversation, everything was great – it was the ideal situation.”
Offensive Nightmare for Opponents
In addition to Sean Gleeson now being in control of what could become one of the most dynamic offenses in the Big Ten East in the coming years, Rutgers has undoubtedly righted the ship when it comes to recruiting. That starts with Longerbeam. He shared his thoughts on what he could bring to the table. He also said what he thinks of the coaching hires of Gleeson and receivers coach Tiquan Underwood.
“Yes, I am very excited to get to work with (Underwood), cause I feel like he brings more than the coaching aspect,” the 3-star athlete said. “He’s young, he’s played in the NFL, he’s played at the college level. So I just feel like his knowledge and his experiences will help me even more on the field.”
When asked about Gleeson, Longerbeam was just as enthusiastic.
“I know he’s had some pretty explosive offenses in the past that put up a lot of points,” he said. “I just feel like bringing that in with the new defensive coach that we have, we’re going to have a great team.”
Future of Rutgers Football
“I feel as though we can be a top team in the Big Ten in a few years,” Longerbeam said.
It’s very possible with a substantial amount of young guys coming into the program. The Scarlet Knights seem to be really buying into this massive coaching staff Schiano has prepared. Only time and handwork will tell.
“As a team I just want us to have a solid season,” Longerbeam said. “I want us to win a bunch of games that put us on the map, on the national level. As a player, I just want to earn playing time as a freshman; I just want to get out there and get to work.”
If this team can pull off an upset against one of the teams from the loaded Big Ten East, look for Rutgers to start gaining national attention again. All exceptional turnarounds are only as good as the hard work and determination of the players.
With Longerbeam, that’s no different. Don’t forget the name. He’s determined to bring a new look to Rutgers football. If you blink, you might just miss it.