New Jersey has always served as fertile ground for college football teams around the country. While Rutgers has made great strides in keeping talent at home, outsiders continue to enter the Garden State and gain commitments from New Jersey prospects. Let's take a look at where New Jersey's best recruits are going not just in the Big Ten, but nationally:
Rutgers predictably led the way with the most New Jersey recruits, garnering seven total. However, Boston College and Temple weren't far behind with six and five from the Garden State, respectively. The Eagle's ability to sign six Jersey players might be alarming if it weren't for the majority of them being two-star sleeper recruits. Temple, on the other hand, stole some really good players in Michael Dogbe and Shamir Bearfield, with Bearfield choosing the Owls over an offer from the Scarlet Knights. Temple even signed lightly recruited quarterback prospect Frank Nutile out of Don Bosco Prep, possibly establishing a pipeline to the perennial power.
Rutgers also failed to sign a single player from top in-state programs Pope John XXIII (Sparta, NJ) and Paramus Catholic (Paramus, NJ), with Noah Brown and Jabrill Peppers being the most notable players to spurn the hometown college program. Also, James Franklin's first recruiting class has a high-quality Jersey flavor to it, including Saeed Blacknall. One silver lining is that Rutgers did not really lose top targets to lesser or equal programs. Maryland did not sign a top NJ prospect, and Rutgers didn't seem to show a ton of interest in Northwestern commit Garrett Dickerson. You never want to lose your key prospects to the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, or Penn State, but it's understandable when it happens, especially considering the results on the field for the Scarlet Knights this past season.
Kyle Flood's status as head coach is not currently helping matters since some might see him as a lame duck coach, but hiring Ralph Friedgen as offensive coordinator should help boost recruiting by showing top recruits that RU means business on offense. Rutgers has always been solid defensively, 2013 notwithstanding. If Flood had more wins to end the season, the Scarlet Knights might just have prevented some decommitments. The B1G will be much more difficult, no doubt. But RU won't stay near the bottom forever, and once that happens more and better recruits will decide to stay in Piscataway.
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