The Scarlet Knights added a major force to their defense tonight when four-star linebacker Manny Abreu made his pledge to Rutgers. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder out of Union City (N.J.) Union Hill decided to stay in-state over offers from Boston College, Florida, Florida State, Michigan and numerous other schools.
"He did an announcement a little while ago on ESPN during their halftime show for Rutgers," Union Hill head coach Joe Rotondi said. "Straight from his mouth, he told me that he discussed the decision with his family and after looking at everything he decided that staying at home would be the best thing for him.
"He likes that his mom, brothers and sisters can come and see him play. He also knows that he'll get a quality education and is very comfortable with the school knowing that a former teammate Pedro Sosa is there. I think it's just the right fit for Manny. You know he went to see Florida and it's a great place and the Swamp is very exciting, but in the end it came down to being close to family and he wants them to take part in college just like they did in high school."
Abreu is particularly happy about the situation he's heading into.
"I know Manny likes that their program is on the rise," he said. "He was also a fan of being recruited by coach Schiano and Flood. They call every week and would talk more and more about family and life and less about how they need him as a football player.
"In regards to the program, he couldn't be happier with the season Rutgers is having and the caliber of players that are going there. He felt it was time to get on-board and hopes that sparks other players to join him. I talked to coach Schiano on his behalf about whether he'll be leaving. We had a face to face discussion and he told me absolutely not, it wasn't a 100% guarantee, but he gave his assurance that he's building a house here and this is where he wants to be."
Rotondi has no doubt that the Rivals250 prospect can play at the next level.
"They haven't talked to him about playing time and Manny doesn't really care about that. Personally from me, he's a contributor right away and physically is ready," he said. "He's 6-foot-4, 230-pounds and runs like a running back. He has great hands, tremendous athleticism and I'm sure his competitive nature will get him on the field immediately.
"Rutgers is getting a kid that is tenacious on defense and tough to play against. Last week we had a tough time against Hoboken, but Manny played big recording 19 solo tackles, three blocked extra points and almost 10 assists. He refuses to be blocked and can run sideline to sideline."