At the forefront of a somewhat fairy tale story of how the little football team that could came to be is Rutgers head coach, Greg Schiano. Schiano, who signed on to be the coach of the Scarlet Knights in 2000, knew he had a huge task in front of him. For the first four seasons of Schiano’s tenure, RU went 3-24 against in-conference teams. The recruiting during this time had actually been decent compared to how Rutgers fared in the recruiting game before he came to Piscataway.
After the 2004 season though, many RU fans were harboring some malevolent feelings towards Schiano and even he knew that it would take a miracle in 2005 to keep his career moving in the right direction. That miracle came true and the Knights capped the season off with an upset over Pittsburgh. Since 2005, the rebuilding effort has become a strengthening effort by Mr. Schiano and his staff. After a bowl qualifying season in 2009, recruiting looked great heading into National Signing day. In the aftermath of National Signing Day, it looks like Coach Schiano has brought in one of the best RU recruiting classes to date.
Leading the 2010 class for the Knights on defense is safety Rashad Knight. Many believe Knight has the potential to play both cornerback and safety for RU during his tenure in New Jersey. As the highest rated pure defensive player, Rashad didn’t receive as many offers as he wanted, (i.e. FLA, ALA) but there’s no doubt that he has the ability to thrive wherever he plays in the Big East. Another notable defensive recruit that headed up to NJ is Kenneth Kirksey. Kenneth is somewhat undersized, but he has great speed for a 270-pound defensive linemen.
In the 2009 class, RU received commitments from both quarterback Tom Savage and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. Throughout the whole season, these playmakers were lethal to any defense. To add to Savage’s arsenal of wide outs, Schiano was able to sign Brandon Coleman. The 6’6” Maryland product has the potential to be Tom Savage’s deep threat for the next three years.
Coleman has obvious height and he is surprisingly fast for such a tall player. He also has very good balance which he uses to snag almost every jump-ball sent his way. One serious issue with Brandon is his hands. He has all the other skills almost down to a tee, but still cannot catch many balls being thrown to him at distances of 20 yards or less. Without the short threat implemented to his game, Coleman could become a one-dimensional risk to opposing defenses.
Usually Greg Schiano is able to lock up much of New Jersey during the recruiting season, but in this case, the 2010 class only has seven New Jersey natives. This would be a grave concern for the RU coaching staff if they hadn’t received such diverse talent from other fruitful states. With the majority of their high-end talent coming from Florida and Maryland, the next few years are sure to be exciting for Scarlet Knight fans.