At this point, everyone is aware that the Scarlet Knights hit a home run with this year’s recruiting class.
Officially finishing with the 32nd best class in the nation, 2011 marks the best off season for football Rutgers has ever had; no other year even comes close.
Boasting a rock solid 24 new players, with an average rating of 2.96 stars, it is quite possible that RU finally has the pieces of the puzzle to win a Big East title.
Let us take a look at some of most clutch players RU managed to reel in this time around.
Huggins actually decided to declare four days prior to signing day, so if you haven’t heard by now, obviously you’re not a Rutgers, or even a Big East football fan.
Huggins had an astonishing 1,891 yards and 35 rushing touchdowns this past fall, and one glance at those numbers shows that RU really found something special in this young player.
While not really a big bruising back at 6’0, 190 pounds, Huggins has great breakaway speed, hits the whole hard, makes guys miss, and despite being a little on the smaller side, can still break tackles.
Another factor to consider when looking at Huggins is that St. Peter’s Prep favored a pro style offense; also the favored style of attack for new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti.
Of course the plays will not be exactly the same, but the point is that Huggins should have an easy time adapting to the new offense.
Canevari was just a two star recruit, despite a monstrous senior season that saw him gain 1,750 yards and 36 touchdowns on the ground.
The only real explanation of why he was rated so low is that this is a recruiting class that was very deep at the running back position.
Which leads to the question: why recruit a guy like Canevari when Huggins, Joe Martinek, and De’Antwan Williams, and Jordan Thomas all vying for touches?
The answer is simple: Canevari will be playing as a full back in college. Canevari has great size for an 18 year old, at 6’0 207 pounds, so having a player like him blocking is certainly not the worst idea.
And of course, he has proven he is more than capable when called upon to run the ball, so it is no wonder that Canevari and Huggins have already been compared to Brian Leonard and Ray Rice.
While those expectations are awfully lofty, expect both of these guys to produce in a big way come September.
Shuler actually played quarterback in high school, and proved to be a Michael Vick like dual threat.
He threw for 1,113 yards and 14 touchdowns, as well as rushing for 1, 017 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Shuler is a burner, running an impressive. 4.38 40 yard dash, which explains why he is so effective when flushed out of the pocket.
Rutgers was not interested in using Shuler as a QB since they recruited Don Bosco’s Gary Nova, and of course Chas Dodd is still around.
Shuler was also not terribly accurate in college, only completing a little over than half his passes his senior year.
Nonetheless, he is still immensely talented and is a threat to find the end zone anytime he touches the football.
Rutgers propensity to use the Wild Knight formation last season is something that really needs to have Shuler incorporated into.
He is a perfect candidate for this offense since he is very quick runner, but can still catch defenses off guard by throwing passes, something he has done hundreds of times up to this point in his career.
If used correctly, Shuler should be for Rutgers what Brad Smith is for the New York Jets.
Nova seemed to be a sure thing to go to divisional rival Pittsburgh, but things took a turn for the better for RU when the Panthers fired head coach Dave Wannstedt.
The young QB was then intrigued by Frank Cignetti, who used to run Pitt’s offense. This proved to be the difference maker, as Nova committed on January 10th.
Nova is known for being incredibly careful with the football, throwing just five interceptions in his junior and senior season COMIBINED.
Meanwhile, he accounted for 41 touchdowns in that span. Nova also has great size for a quarterback at 6’2, 210 pounds.
The youngster is also quite mobile, not afraid to rush for a first down when no ones open downfield. Finally, Nova also knows how to win, going 12-0 his senior year.
He is without a doubt a solid addition to the team that should not only push Chas Dodd in training camp, but help fans to forget about Tom Savage quickly.
Isaaka is another in state guy RU managed to wrestle away from Pitt, something that simply has not happened for the Knights in recent years.
Issaka had a solid senior campaign, recording 46 tackles, recovering two fumbles, and forcing four more.
He also scored three touchdowns, one of which was via a run.
Incredibly strong with unbelievable size for his age (6’3, 240 pounds), Issaka gives defenses headaches due to his improbably speed.
His best 40 yard dash time was a 4.6 seconds, which was faster than quarterback recruit Gary Nova to put that into perspective.
Issaka has a great chance to avoid red shirting this season and immediately make an impact on defense.
Another huge in state acquisition for RU, Wright plays like Albert Haynesworth back when he was productive on the Tennessee Titans.
In his senior season, Wright registered 52 tackles, where 19 went for a loss, and also racked up an impressive 8.5 sacks.
Very good at getting past blockers and locating the man with the football, and at 6’3, 265 pounds, he is very tough to move and is basically a sure thing when it comes to tackling the ball carrier.
Wright is big boast to the Knights pass rush and run stop game, areas that both clearly needed improvements based upon last year.
Arguably the biggest offseason need the Knights desperately needed to address, do not think this position fell to the way center.
Center Dallas Hendrikson, guard Kaleb Johnson, and Savon Huggins' high school teammate Keith Lumpkin all made a big impact on their respective offenses in high school.
Johnson and Lumpkin are three star recruits, and while Hendrikson is only a two star recruit, many analysts largely consider him a diamond in the rough due to great mobility for a big man.
All three guys have a legitimate shot to start in 2011, since the offensive line was simply a train wreck for the Knights last season.