October 21, 2007

Joe Lefeged: Making his mark in a hurry

It didn't take long for Rutgers safety Joe Lefeged to make his presence felt on the college football field. After earning Big East Defensive Player of the Week honors, Lefeged responded with another stellar performance against South Florida. The freshman from Maryland was a key reason why the Rutgers defense was able to hand the second ranked team in the nation its first loss of the season.

"Before I came here, the coaches told me to prepare and be prepared to play," said Lefeged. "Each week I was able to work my way up, playing nickel and being a part of the defense."

Lefeged pressured quarterback Matt Grothe all game and finished with 1.5 sacks, equaling his total against Syracuse. When Lefeged wasn't blitzing, he showed off his cover skills in the secondary. Grothe couldn't make a completion to a receiver while Lefeged was in the vicinity. Lefeged also flourished when spying on Grothe in passing situations. The freshman closed well and refused to let Grothe beat him with his feet.

"Joe is a very bright young man," said head coach Greg Schiano. "He's a tremendous athlete with great acceleration. He is something special. We felt that we needed to get him on the field."

The door of opportunity widened for Lefeged when Ron Giarult went down with an ankle injury. Although Lefeged has burst through that open door, he credited his coaching staff with his success.

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