It's a shocking return for Schiano, who was thought to be out of the running for the job last week after turning down a deal reported by Brett McMurphy of Stadium to be for $32 million over eight years.
"The next great chapter of Rutgers football is about to begin," Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said in a statement. "There are many people to thank for where we are today, particularly Coach Schiano and his team, as well as everyone here at Rutgers. They all played important roles in bringing these complex negotiations to a close."
The hire still requires a vote from the school's board of governors, leading Hobbs to state, "it wouldn't be appropriate to prejudge any action" the board may take.
"But I believe today that Rutgers football is on the path to greatness," he added.
Schiano previously coached in Piscataway, New Jersey, from 2001-11, compiling a 68-67 record over that time. He led Rutgers to a 12-place finish in the AP Poll in 2006 after an 11-win season. The 53-year-old left the program to become head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012.
Since Schiano left the college ranks, Rutgers completed a move to the Big Ten and has been one of the Power 5's worst programs. The Scarlet Knights have posted a dismal 21-52 record since switching conferences in 2014.
Schiano returned to college football in 2016 to serve as a defensive coordinator for Ohio State through the 2018 campaign. He was set for the same role with the New England Patriots in 2019 but stepped down shortly after joining the staff to devote more time to his faith and family.
Rutgers lost 27-6 to Penn State on Saturday to close out the 2019 schedule.