What's next for former Rutgers RB Isaih Pacheco? A packed schedule and the NFL

Chris Iseman
Rutgers sports writer

Isaih Pacheco might be finished playing football for Rutgers, but the running back still has a couple games to prepare for. 

The former Scarlet Knights running back, who shortly after the season declared for the NFL Draft, will participate in the Hula Bowl on Jan. 15 and the East-West Shrine Bowl on Feb. 3. 

"I was just thankful," Pacheco said of the chance to participate in the showcases. "I’m really excited about it."

Then the Vineland native will start preparing for the NFL.

Pacheco said after the Scarlet Knights' season-ending loss to Maryland he needed to decide what his future would be. Three days later, he announced his decision to leave Rutgers for the pros. 

"Me and my family sat down and talked about it," Pacheco said last week after Rutgers' season-ending banquet. "I thought it was a good decision for me to make. Just absolutely blessed that I’m healthy. I had a great career here. I’m thankful for every coach that came in the doors. I just stayed on task throughout the whole way and stayed locked in and encouraged other players to do what they’ve got to do. Like I said, I’m a team player. I’ll always be here and I’ll always love this program."

Isaih Pacheco of Rutgers runs in the first half as Temple played Rutgers in the season opener at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, NJ on September 4, 2021.

Pacheco, who said he's going to train for the NFL down in Florida, left the Scarlet Knights after a decorated career. 

He rushed for 647 yards on 167 carries (3.9 yards per attempt) with five touchdowns in 2021. Pacheco rushed for a total of 2,442 yards in four seasons at Rutgers, which is ranked seventh in program history. 

A co-team captain this past season, Pacheco also ranks 11th in program history with 3,039 career all-purpose yards.  

The Hula Bow will be played at Central Florida's Bounce House because of upgrades and repairs taking place at Aloha Stadium.

Pacheco's next stop, the East-West Shrine Bowl, will be played at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders — he'll be there along with Rutgers long snapper and Parsippany native Billy Taylor. 

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Pacheco was one of three Scarlet Knights who declared for the NFL Draft with college eligibility remaining, joining defensive end Mike Tverdov and linebacker Drew Singleton. 

They all sat down with coach Greg Schiano, who provided his input and advice — as long as his players want it, which in their cases, they did. 

"No. 1, I ask if they want my opinion," Schiano said. "Because if they don’t, if they’ve made up their mind, there’s no sense in me telling them what I think because that’s just going to cloud their mind going forward. One hundred percent of them asked. And I gave them my truthful opinion."

Rutgers will have to make up for the loss of Pacheco, but the Scarlet Knights have depth at running back. 

Aaron Young is a versatile threat, while Don Bosco product Kyle Monangai impressed in his chances this season. Rutgers also has Al-Shadee Salaam on the depth chart, and added Sam Brown, a four-star recruit, as part of its 2022 recruiting class last week. 

Pacheco established a standout collegiate career at Rutgers. Now he's headed for the pros and the next stage of his football life. 

"Excited," Pacheco said. "I can’t describe it. I’m just ready to get to work."

Email: iseman@northjersey.com Twitter: @chrisiseman