2 Tri-State Area Prospects Headline Jets Rookie Tryouts

Robert Saleh

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh at training camp on July 30, 2021.

The New York Jets’ official list of rookie camp invites was revealed today and several local prospects received a tryout with the franchise.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini tweeted out the 68-man group — which included Florham Park and Staten Island natives among others.

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McIntyre & Awopetu Highlighted for Local Ties

Jets beat reporter Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press made note of two rookie invites with a local connection to the organization — tight end Tommy McIntyre and safety Nowoola Awopetu.

“Jets have a hometown kid here at rookie minicamp on a tryout,” Waszak informed. “Former SMU tight end Tommy McIntyre, a Florham Park, NJ, native. He spent his first three college seasons at Cornell before playing two at SMU.”

McIntyre recorded 235 receiving yards off 20 catches with Cornell in 2018, but only totaled 67 yards during his two seasons at SMU. He did score one touchdown as a Mustang.

Awopetu played in Pennsylvania, according to Waszak, who detailed his background.

“Staten Island in the house … former Villanova safety Nowoola Awopetu is here on a tryout. A [Port Richmond football] grad. Had 3 INTs and 15 PDs at Villanova,” the reporter tweeted.

The 5-foot-11 defensive back had 134 career tackles in college, four for a loss, and one sack to go with the statistics Waszak mentioned. Awopetu also contributed as a kick returner with nine career returns.

There were several other Tri-state area natives in attendance on May 6:

  • Phil Campbell, linebacker (Pittsburgh), Kendall Park (NJ).
  • Omar Fortt, linebacker (Connecticut), Stamford (CT).
  • Jay Rose, fullback (Connecticut), Southington (CT).
  • Stephen Gonzalez, offensive line (Penn State), Union City (NJ).
  • Michael Maietti, offensive line (Missouri), West Orange (NJ).
  • 2021 signing Tarik Black, wide receiver (Texas), Hamden (CT).
  • UDFA signing Irvin Charles, wide receiver (IUP), Sicklerville (NJ).
  • Lonnie Moore, wide receiver (Monmouth), Sicklerville (NJ).
  • Billy Taylor, long snapper (Rutgers), Parsippany (NJ).

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All Eyes on the Lindenhurst Star

Of course, one New York native will have the attention of Jets fans — tight end Jeremy Ruckert of Lindenhurst, NY.

The Ohio State product was drafted to be the franchise’s tight end of tomorrow, with C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin slated to start in 2022. That’s perfectly fine for the promising draft pick, who could use some fine-tuning before he takes first-team snaps at the NFL level.

In case you missed it, Ruckert’s father is also a diehard Jets fan, and the tight end himself has bled green since birth. His family lost it when Joe Douglas made the call on draft weekend, in what quickly turned into a viral video on the Twittersphere.

Here’s a closer look at the moment of jubilation from Ruckert’s father, Bill.

Bill Ruckert tweeted later: “If I’m dreaming please don’t wake me up!!!” It’s hard not to root for a story like this.

Jeremy Ruckert will no doubt have high expectations down the line, but the grace period provided by Douglas and the Jets should allow him to grow into the role of an every-down tight end for Zach Wilson and this rushing attack.

The dual-threat brings a complete skill set, as an advanced blocker and an efficient receiver at Ohio State — even if he was underutilized according to most. If any of these rookie tryouts actually turn into a training camp roster spot alongside Ruckert, why not another local product?

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