National Signing Day 2011: Wild but Successful Day for Rutgers Football

Jayson LoveCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2011

Greg Schiano kept the state's best quarterback and running back at home, he also received some signing day surprises!
Greg Schiano kept the state's best quarterback and running back at home, he also received some signing day surprises!Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

With signing day pending, the Knights were in play with some major recruits and had some battles on their hands with others.

Just a few days ago, prized lineman recruit, Josue Matias de-committed from Rutgers and today, Lafayette Pitts re-committed to Pittsburgh despite a soft verbal commitment to Rutgers.

The Knights were in play for a highly-touted JUCO lineman named Fou Fonoti, who at 3:00 PM today selected Michigan State over R.U.

The offensive line situation took another hit when Marquis Lucas reneged on his commitment to Rutgers, and instead signed with West Virginia today.

However, the Knights reeled in a last-second O-line commitment today that lessened the blow of losing out on Matias to Florida State, and Fonoti to MSU. 

Kaleb Johnson, a Rivals 3-star recruit, signed his letter of intent to play for the Knights this fall.

The offensive line was also helped out by the commitment of Keith Lumpkin, who remained solid to his Sept. 9 commitment to Rutgers, as he rose to 4-star status according to Rivals and Scout.

The line will receive immediate help with the commitment of JUCO center Dallas Hendrickson who will help stabilize the line.

One could only dream of the tandem he would have formed with fellow JUCO lineman Fou Fonoti. 

However signing day brought more good fortune for the Knights.  They received another last-minute commitment of defensive tackle Marquise Wright.

DT would seem to be quickly moving from a position of weakness to a huge strength as along with Wright, the Knights signed Kenneth Kirksey who had committed in August.

Kirksey, and fellow commitment Djwaney Mera, benefit from spending 2010 prepping at Fork Union Military Academy and Hargrave Military Academy respectively.

The prep year could make these two players candidates to make contributions immediately to the Scarlet Knights.

It is easy to focus on RU's de-commitments in Pitts, Lucas and Matias, but you must consider that the wildness for Rutgers really started last weekend.

At a press conference on Jan. 28 at St. Peter's Prep, Lumpkin's teammate, and New Jersey's No. 1 player, running back Savon Huggins committed to Rutgers.  Hours earlier, highly-touted defensive end, Max Issaka of Woodbridge, NJ chose the Knights.  Both players signed their letters of intent today.

The class also boasts the highest-rated New Jersey quarterback, Don Bosco's Gary Nova, which means that for the first time, the Scarlet Knights have kept the top running back and quarterback in-state, a huge step forward for the R.U. program.

The class of commitments is rated No. 1 in the Big East by, and No. 2 by the Rivals recruiting service.