(If you can't already tell, this post was originally supposed to run over a month ago. It kept getting bumped due to other stories taking precedent, and time constraints. Sorry. Consider it a peace offering for not writing a recruiting post this week. This was a difficult undertaking that practically invites mistakes, but to my knowledge is accurate. Going back to earlier years was especially difficult when unfamiliar names popped up. Please feel free to offer any corrections, comments, or suggestions.)
National Signing Day is supposed to be about success stories. Every recruit may not be the next Ray Rice or Devin McCourty, but each will be counted on to contribute in some respect. At the very least they will be expected to graduate, as 88% of Rutgers football players do according to the most recent available data. That scenario does not always come to pass. Even when not being sacrificed to the SEC oversigning gods, some level of attrition is inevitable. A certain percentage of players everywhere will suffer injuries and/or fall down depth charts. The same programs that treat their student athletes like pieces of meat inevitably don't invest much in academic support either, or regularly finish near the top of the Fulmer Cup standings.
One subset that receives even less attention are the student athletes that sign letters of intent, never arrive on campus over the summer, and are seemingly never heard from again. This goes beyond a prospect trying to become eligible in prep school or the junior college ranks. As far as the Rutgers fanbase is concerned, these one-time signees might as well have fallen off the face of the Earth. Their only legacies are the occasional random message board thread asking, "hey, what ever happened to so-and-so?"
In an effort to eventually build up enough material to build up a site FAQ, below is an attempt to go back and categorize each Rutgers football signee under Greg Schiano who never were able to enroll and officially join the program. Therefore, it does not count near-immediate transfers (Eric Wilson), those who never played (Jonathan Fields, etc...), or did not last long. Nor does it count last year's non-qualifiers, as two have subsequently made it to campus, and the third signed another LOI last month.
At first glance it looks like the entire class made it.
Pennsylvania back Jamar Brittingham eventually landed at DII Bloomsburg. Brittingham had a very successful on-field career at Bloomsburg, eventually spending the summer of 2008 as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons.
Does anyone know what happened to Milford Academy defensive back Marcus Mitchell?
Lakewood back Dwayne Jones never qualified, later enrolling at Morgan State. He is currently imprisoned for his role in two armed robberies. The Asbury Park Press published an update on Jones ("A mother stands by her imprisoned son", 5/3/09) two years ago, which is no longer available online.
Florida tackle Ronald Fenelus enrolled at a junior college, and then the trail goes cold. Similarly, there's even less on the web about defensive back Bruce McKever.
Florida receiver Chris McClover was much hyped (relatively speaking, for the time), as the younger brother of Auburn end Stanley McClover. Chris bounced around the JUCO circuit before transferring to Middle Tennessee.
No player, with the possible exception of Dwayne Jones, inspires more queries than Canadian back Jerome Messam. Believe it or not, six years ago Messam was seen as the crown jewel of a disappointing recruiting class (with Ray Rice not entering the picture until Syracuse fired Paul Pasqualoni). He wasn't quite Brandon Jacobs, but Messam was supposed to be a 6'3, 230 lb ubermensch who could run like a gazelle and cut on a dime. Messam never qualified, instead enrolling in North Dakota College of Science. He was fielding interest from midwestern programs like Minnesota and Iowa State before getting kicked out of his junior college (and subsequently charged with trespassing). He then landed at NAIA school Graceland for a year, and as of last year was playing for the CFL's BC Lions.
Tom Luicci said Hudson Catholic lineman Darren Salinardi briefly made it to campus in 2005 before joining the military (a surprising reoccurring theme at RU over the past decade), but in another article ("Looking Back at Rutgers Recruiting", 2/7/07) said neither brother qualified.
(Random inane fact that has nothing to do with anything: Robert Baham has a Wikipedia page. What?)
Florida end Markus White didn't qualify, but actually worked at the New Brunswick Hyatt for several months before going back home to Florida. He went to junior college and eventually signed with Florida State.
Plainfield's Reggie Dixon was looking like a top class of '07 speedster (holding offers from Rutgers, BC, and Temple as a junior) who surprisingly was ready to enroll a year early. Then a very disturbing story came to light and his scholarship was pulled. Dixon later got in trouble at Hampton. Greg Schiano told ESPN that he was aware of Dixon's prior conviction, but more information later came to light. There were several contradictory reports on this incident in local papers at the time.
Florida receiver Malcolm Johnson, reportedly Tim Brown's cousin, led West Georgia in receiving as a freshman in 2009. Johnson spent last season as a community college and has since returned to UWG for 2011.
Rashad White from Teaneck initially enrolled at Lackawanna College in hopes of making it to Rutgers. White later resurfaced at ASA in Brooklyn. Last year's ASA media guide says White transferred to Winston-Salem State University. He is not on their 2011 roster.