Over five years have now passed since the vaunted New Jersey class of 2005, meaning that everyone outside of a handful of medical redshirts from the season should have graduated by now. It was considered at the time to be the deepest in years, and largely lived up to the billing. That year was so frickin' loaded that Rutgers actually managed to land an excellent crop of contributors in spite of large striking out with the big names owing to a miserable 2004 season.
Take a glance at the Rivals 2005 top 30 players in New Jersey ranking. The number one player that year was Eugene Monroe, and number three was Brian Cushing. Two others in Jim Dray and and Dennis Landolt landed on NFL rosters in April. Yes, various factors contributed to the other six players in the top ten not living up to their billing, but that's fairly par for the course when dealing with recruiting. Busts are a fact of life, and that's actually a fairly good hit rate.
What's really striking though is when you move down the list and look at the depth in that year's class. Rashawn Jackson and Garrett Graham will be in NFL camps this fall. The players ranked 27-29 that year by Rivals? Donald Brown (a good prospect who saw his offer list limited by poor academics), Malcolm Jenkins, and Corey Wootton (who just went to the Chicago Bears). The class of '05 produced other unranked NFL players in Kevin Haslam, Kevin Malast, Tiquan Underwood, Jason McCourty, Jonathan Casillas, Jerome Murphy, Phil Costa, Drew Willy, Andre Dixon, and Darnell Stapleton (who, in fairness, was a JUCO transfer with two years to play). Not to mention a couple of defensive backs named Devin McCourty (a N.Y. native who went to school in N.J.) and Kyle Wilson.
New York's top 15 did not fare nearly as well that year. Arguably, Ray Rice at #11 more than makes up for everybody else (his high school teammate Courtney Greene was an '04 prospect who then spent a year in prep school). Man, just thinking about Rice, Brown, and Shonn Greene (another '04 prospect that prepped) all signing in the same calendar year is mind blowing.