Greg Schiano found a way to bring the holidays to New Jersey in June—five commitments from the 2009 class locked up in approximately 72 hours, giving Rutgers football 15 verbal lock-ups before the calendar even turns to July.
Scarlet Knights fans are elated but not surprised by the recent recruiting success and national exposure created by the man at the helm.
This is the same head coach who took only seven years to bring a team that was 11-44 in the five years prior to his arrival to three straight bowl appearances and the first two bowl titles in school history.
This is the same head coach who spurned offers from Miami and Michigan in consecutive years to remain on the banks of the ol’ Raritan.
This is the same New Jersey-born head coach who has created the “State of Rutgers” in recruiting, bringing in top talents from New Jersey, New York, Eastern Pennsylvania (virtually the entire Northeast Corridor), and even southern Florida to Piscataway.
This is the same head coach who collected wins (in 2006 and 2007 respectively) over No. 3 Louisville and No. 2 South Florida on national television in Piscataway at Rutgers Stadium, a facility that will expand to 56,000 seats by 2009 due to Schiano putting Rutgers football (which played the first ever college football game in 1869) back on the map.
So when this week saw the 2009 commitment list expand to 15, Scarlet Knights fans were in a euphoric state, but not shocked. Schiano, along with a stacked crew of assistants with geographic recruiting prowess all around the nation, has dominated the headlines in the month of June.
On April 19, when nationally-acclaimed quarterback Tom Savage from Cardinal O’Hara High School in suburban Philadelphia verbally committed to the Scarlet Knights, a domino effect ensued.
Desmond Scott, the second-ranked all-purpose back in the nation (from North Carolina, no less), committed to Rutgers without any preconceived ties to the University.
Mark Brazinski, a four-star, 300-pound center from Immaculata High School in Somerville, New Jersey, was soon to follow.
Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Jersey…the State University of the Garden State was expanding its reach.
Then, the week that was. The week that may be the busiest that any Scarlet Knights sport has ever seen in terms of commitment quantity.
Steve Beauharnais, a linebacker from Saddle Brook, NJ. Jamal Wilson, a lineman from Brooklyn. Michael Larrow, a defensive end from Union. Robert Joseph, a fullback from Poly Prep in Brooklyn. Jordan Hill, a 290-pound defensive lineman (yesssss! A full-sized tackle) from Pennsylvania.
Aaron Hayward, a Carneys Point, NJ athlete. Mark Harrison, an under-the-radar 6'4" wide-out from Connecticut who committed the day after his visit. Duron Harmon, a Delaware athlete who will play safety.
Andre Civil, a defensive end from Brooklyn (there’s Coach Flood again with his NYC ties). Paul Carrezola, a tight end from Pennsylvania (thank you, Tom Savage). And Malcolm Bush, a 6'3" offensive player from Hackensack, NJ.
Phew…what a stretch for Coach Schiano.
With the buzz surrounding the RU campus due to these early summer developments, hype for Rutgers football is at a peak. Labor Day can’t come soon enough for Rutgers vs. Fresno State.
Let the recruiting holiday continue… Scarlet Knights fans, this is your chance to soak it all in.