Rutgers Football Recruiting: National Signing Day 2014 Preview

Wesley Hitt

Kyle Flood has been hitting the recruiting trail hard to close out his 2014 class. Here are some of the highlights from the past week.

This past recruiting season has been filled with disappointments for Rutgers fans, as several decommitments have tarnished what was once a landmark class. The latest is Justin Herron, who flipped to Wake Forest. While some of the big names have gone elsewhere, Kyle Flood has been hard at work looking for under-the-radar players who might not have been recruited heavily, yet still fits the hard-nosed Rutgers profile. Here is a breakdown of some of the commits and transfers from the past week:

Jerry Reese, Jr. - QB-dual threat, Jefferson Township (Oak Ridge, NJ)

6'2" 205 lbs, unranked prospect

The dual-threat quarterback committed to a preferred walk-on opportunity at Rutgers. If he develops as well as former walk-on Paul James has, Reese could be a true sleeper prospect. An incredibly raw athlete, Reese, Jr. has the skills and tools to become a great signal-caller under Ralph Friedgen's system. You can check out his highlights here.

Sam Blue - OLB, Millbrook (Raleigh, NC)

6'3" 225 lbs, unranked prospect

Another under-the-radar recruit, Sam Blue was recruited for the rush end "R" position. The only other FBS offer Blue holds is from Georgia Southern, although he is reported to have preferred walk-on status at Georgia and UNC. Originally committed to Georgetown, Blue decided to flip to Rutgers when defensive line coach Jim Panagos made an in-home visit (although it can't be that hard to flip a recruit from an FCS school to a B1G program). You can watch his highlights here.

Darian Dailey - CB, Manatee (Bradenton, FL)

5'11" 175 lbs, 2* composite

There is at least one position that Rutgers can consistently produce top talent, and that's defensive back. With stars like the McCourty twins and young guns Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon, the effect is being noticed by recruits, including Darian Dailey:

It's about the block R, honestly. I want to be a part of the DBU that they have.

That was quoted by Todderick Hunt of the Star-Ledger. 2013 was most certainly an aberration, but that hasn't stopped Kyle Flood from building a stockpile of cornerbacks in the 2014 class. Dailey had offers from several mid-major programs including Tulane, Middle Tennessee State, and a host of MAC schools. His highlight reel shows good closing speed, but it is apparent he lacks catching ability, and he has a penchant for drawing interference calls. Still, you can see that the Rutgers staff likes the skills he brings - he has a knack for being a ball hawk and already seems to have Rutgers' technique of ripping the ball from the ballcarrier down pat.

Names To Watch On NSD:

Sam Martin - WR, Fairview (Boulder, CO)

6'3" 180 lbs, 3* composite

Martin is having a Gunner Kiel type of recruitment. Originally committed to Miami (OH), Martin flipped to Rutgers last weekend, only to reportedly return to the RedHawks earlier this week.

Todderick Hunt claims that Giovanni Rescigno is doing work in terms of getting Martin back in Piscataway:

Martin has 4.5-40 speed to get separation on deep routes, but also has the height to attack those jump balls on fades. He definitely needs to add some bulk to his lanky frame, but that will come once he goes through the strength and conditioning program. He was the state of Colorado's leading high-school receiver in 2012, and followed up that season with even better numbers in 2013. Highlights of his game can be seen here.

Shaedon Meadors - WR, Byrnes (Duncan, SC)

6'2" 175 lbs, 3* composite

The current Appalachian State commit has re-opened his recruitment, and Rutgers looks to be a finalist when he makes his decision. 24/7 Sports has updated their prognosis on his decision with Rutgers being his final choice, but it's definitely close between the two schools. With Saeed Blacknall and Adonis Jennings gone, Kyle Flood is definitely looking to bolster his receiving corps, and getting Martin and Meadors would be a great consolation prize. Also, with Chas Dodd finding marginal success at RU, it's possible that the Scarlet Knights could build a pipeline to Byrnes HS and find the next Marcus Lattimore. Meadors' 4.5-40 speed gives him the ability to leave DBs in the dust, but it might mean he needs work on catching in traffic. His highlight reel shows several catches where he is wide open.

Caleb Perez - ATH, Palm Beach Gardens (FL)

6'2" 215 lbs, unranked prospect

Kyle Flood is recruiting Perez as a preferred walk-on fullback. 24/7 Sports reports that he has similar offers from a host of mid-major and FCS schools, but he does hold an offer from UCF. Current commit Jacob Kraut is the top FB recruit in the nation, so Perez would most-likely be kept for depth purposes, especially considering the trouble the Knights had when Michael Burton went down in 2012 due to injury.

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