Former Super Bowl XLIII starting right guard Darnell Stapleton begins his second season as an offensive assistant at Rutgers.
In his first season coaching “On the Banks”, Stapleton helped develop a unit that ranked eighth nationally and first in the BIG EAST in sacks allowed. The offensive line paved the way for the program’s seventh player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season in Washington Redskins draft pick Jawan Jamison.
Junior offensive guard Antwan Lowery was an All-BIG EAST First Team selection while sophomore left tackle Kaleb Johnson collected All-BIG EAST Second Team honors. Following the season, senior right tackle R.J. Dill signed a free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The former Scarlet Knight center worked to the top of the National Football League with the Pittsburgh Steelers after signing as an undrafted free agent following the 2007 NFL Draft. Stapleton did not see action during the 2007 season only to break into the lineup for the 2008 season, starting in 12 of 14 appearances, including the Steelers’ victory over the Arizona Cardinals to capture the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Stapleton started all 13 games at center for Rutgers as a senior in 2006, earning recognition as a finalist for the Rimington Trophy. He anchored an offensive line that blocked for NFL Pro Bowl runningback and former Scarlet Knight Ray Rice, who totaled 1,794 rushing yards that season. Stapleton started all 12 games for RU in 2005, securing the starting role after transferring from Hudson Valley Community College.
A native of Union Township, N.J., Stapleton attended Union High School. He went on to earn a degree in Management & Labor Relations at Rutgers.