Rutgers may not be a traditional powerhouse when it comes to football, but they sure know how to produce NFL talent.
Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan, and Duron Harmon suit up in the secondary for the New England Patriots while former wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is reeling in passes from Matt Ryan for the Atlanta Falcons.
What do all of these players have in common? They are all one game from Super Bowl LI in Houston.
McCourty, Ryan and Harmon have already tasted what it is like to be a champion when they won a title just two years ago with New England but are hungry for more. Sanu is still looking for his first trip to the big game as he shines in his first year with Atlanta after a nice stint in Cincinnati.
The three Patriots stars were all able to make interceptions in their win over Houston in the Divisional round of the playoffs and that caught the eye of their former head coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano.
Schiano, who’s two year stint in the NFL with Tampa Bay was short lived as a head coach, has found his new niche as defensive coordinator for Ohio State but still keeps an eye on his former players.
“I was working, but also was trying to steal a peek whenever I could,” Schiano told the New York Post’s Mark Cannizzaro. “After the game, I went back and watched all three of those plays. I just had to.”
Considering the magnitude of the game, Rutgers has been getting some high praise from New England Head Coach Bill Belichick, who has had a knack for drafting many players from the banks.
“A big day for Rutgers. A big day for Rutgers,” Belichick repeated to his team in the post game locker room meeting.
McCourty, Ryan and Harmon will look to repeat their performance in the AFC Championship game against Pittsburgh in what they hope is another big day for New England and Rutgers.
Sanu meanwhile is in the first year of a five-year deal that he signed with Atlanta this offseason.
Playing opposite All-Pro receiver Julio Jones certainly has opened up the offense to Sanu considering he has a career high in catches with 59 in 2016-17.
A former all-purpose threat at Rutgers, Sanu has been able to find success as a receiver primarily with Atlanta’s pass heavy offense. He has put up pretty nice numbers for a No. 2 receiver with 59 catches, 653 yards and 4 touchdowns on the season.
The Falcons will host the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship to earn a trip to the Super Bowl and Sanu will look to score at least his second postseason touchdown this year. He caught one and had 44 yards in the Divisional round against Seattle.
McCourty, Ryan, Harmon and Sanu look to continue their success in the pros to show the potential Rutgers has at getting players to the NFL.