By LARRY HENRY JR.
Isaih Pacheco has made the starting tailback job at Rutgers University his ahead of the 2021 season, and the former Vineland High star is excited to reach for new milestones for the Scarlet Knights this fall.
Pacheco is aiming to be the first Rutgers running back to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in a season since 2012, when Jawan Jamison totaled 1,075 yards for the then-Big East program. The fourth-year tailback sits 205 rushing yards away from reaching 2,000 for his career in Piscataway, but admits he is focused on the teams goals and not individual achievements.
“I’m not really worried about getting to the 1,000-yard mark,” Pacheco said in a conference call with reporters on April 28. “I’m worried about what is going on right now, spring ball. So, every day we get outside and go to work. I’m focused on being more efficient every play. So, that’s what I’m leading off of going off of last year.”
Rutgers finished 3-6 in 2020, but averaged more than 26 points per game offensively, a positive in Greg Schiano’s first year back as head coach. Pacheco only totaled 515 yards and three touchdowns in a shortened 2020 campaign, but did set new career highs in receiving yards (130) and receiving touchdowns (1).
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound bruiser remains a key piece of the Scarlet Knights’ offense as the team continues its spring camp. Rutgers is just a few weeks away from its Scarlet-White game, scheduled for May 20 at SHI Stadium, and that will be the first opportunity for coaches to get a glimpse at the new talent and some of the returning leaders in game action.
Schiano praised Pacheco earlier this week, admitting he’s gotten bigger and stronger ahead of the 2021 season.
“I think (Pacheco) looks great right now,” Schiano said in a recent conference call with reporters. “He’s practicing well. He’s gotten bigger and stronger than he was. I’m excited for him and for us. I think he’s a big-time running back.”
Rutgers may have lost six games in 2020, but did well to improve and fight against some of the top competition in the Big Ten Conference. This season will see the team open its schedule in Piscataway against Temple University before a trip to Syracuse on Sept. 11 and a home clash with Delaware on Sept. 18.
The team will see the likes of Ohio State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin all make the trip to North Jersey this Fall while the Scarlet Knights will pay trips to Michigan and Penn State. Pacheco will likely be the lead back for Schiano’s offense once again this season and is ready to deliver whatever is needed to help the Scarlet Knights post a winning record.
“I’m going to do whatever I can do to help the team and whatever coach has planned, we are going to go out there and execute it,” Pacheco said. “That’s all I’m here for. I’m going to make the team better.”
Contact Larry Henry Jr. on Twitter @lhenry019
Football: Stronger, faster Pacheco eager to make bigger impact at Rutgers next season
By LARRY HENRY JR.