WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange High School senior CJ Onyechi celebrated National Signing Day on Wednesday by joining the ranks of the Scarlet Knights football team at Rutgers University. The Class of 2021 linebacker verbally committed to Rutgers in June.
Onyechi, 18, is 6’2 and 220 pounds. The Mountaineer co-captain racked up some impressive stats for the 2016 season, including 156 tackles and 15 sacks.
The season, which started with two surprising losses, turned around when “the team determined they were better than that,” according to head coach Jim Matsakis.
The Mountaineers ended the season 6-4, even logging a 39-36 victory over Montclair High School. Their winning streak afforded an NJSFC Liberty Blue co-conference championship with the Montclair Mounties, West Orange's first in seven years.
Although Onyechi gave a verbal commitment to Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights were not the only university to woo the powerhouse senior. Onyechi also received offers from Princeton, Harvard, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, James Madison, Air Force, Navy, Temple and Buffalo.
“CJ’s signing will open doors for us,” said Matsakis. “Colleges are beginning to take notice that we have a lot of talented, smart players here at West Orange.”
After signing his Letter of Intent with his parents at his side, Onyechi addressed the crowd at West Orange High School.
“I want to thank all of you for being here today. It’s been a long four years but I’m happy where I am,” he said. “I want to thank my all coaches, including Coach Matsakis, for never giving up on me. Since freshman year the coaches have all changed my life in a really great way. I appreciate everyone and thank God for everything.”
Onyechi will attend the Rutgers School of Engineering with an interest in Engineering and Computer Science.