Rutgers' Johnny Langan striving to be a complete tight end
Johnny Langan will do whatever it takes for his team to win, and right now, that is playing tight end.
“He's with us all the time. I’m really proud of him," Rutgers Football tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile said after a spring practice session on Thursday. "He’s always been a great football player. He plays hard, football is important to him, and he’s a great teammate. Now that he seems to understand it, his versatility is special. He has that toughness and he’s willing to sacrifice for his team.”
Langan, the MVP of the 2021 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl for Rutgers after tallying six catches for 57 yards and a touchdown, 20 rushing yards, and 21 passing yards on two completions, has done everything in his power to be more of a complete tight end.
“It’s been great," Langan said. "It’s been great being out here playing football with the guys. This team’s got a great brotherhood and I’m excited for the season.
"It’s really great to take this entire spring and work on the things that I haven’t worked on in the past like blocking which is a big one for me. Just being able to work on my blocking and being a full-time tight end is huge for that.”
Among the tight ends last season, Langan registered a 77.0 pass blocking grade per Pro Football Focus which led the team at the position. However, 48.2 grade for run blocking which was the worst for the unit. Langan told TKR he is improving his blocking this spring.
“I think I’ve made great progress," he said. "Last year just form first game to last game I made a big jump in that area and I expect to make a similar one in spring ball as well.”
In 2021, Langan played in all 13 games with five starts at tight end and really came on as the season progressed. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder rushed for 109 yards with three touchdowns, totaled 18 receptions for 177 yards and completed six passes for 68 yards with another score.
Langan hopes to put together a strong season both in the blocking department and the catching department.
“Just practice," Langan said on how he and the offense can get into a rhythm and show consistency. "It’s about getting reps and developing timing. All those things will fall into place.”
Langan is one of the older guys in the team and at the position alongside Matt Alaimo, who are both in their fifth years of college football.
“Definitely time flies. I’m a senior in college now which feels weird to say," Langan said. "It went by fast. I do my best to help be a leader and help the younger guy get into this culture and really buy into what Schiano is doing. I welcome that.”
The unique thing about the room is the fact that Campanile coached Langan who played quarterback for Bergen Catholic and Alaimo went to St. Joseph (Montvale). Victor Konopka, who is also fighting for playing time, is from Don Bosco Prep.
Bergen County is well represented.
“We have a really good group," Langan said. "We’re all great friends and actually me, Matt, and Victor are roommates. Coach Nunz was my head coach in high school, and we’re all from Bergen, Bosco, and St. Joe's, so we have a lot in common. It’s a great atmosphere there.”
Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisNalwasky.