Rutgers Football Recruiting: The Big Board, Running Backs Edition

Who's next in the backfield for the Knights? - Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

On the Banks examined the Running Back situation at the top of the depth chart yesterday. Now we look at the backs on Rutgers recruiting radar.

Rutgers has always had a strong running attack, and this year should be no different.  But how does the future look? Rutgers is doing well with a number of promising young running backs, headlined by South Brunswick's own Dontae Strickland, who has been on campus multiple times in the past few weeks.

How Did We Do Last Year?

Rutgers picked up three running backs last year, two traditional backs in Harrisburg's Robert Martin and Florida's Josh Hicks, and the nation's highest rated pure fullback in Jacob Kraut.  Each of these guys brings a different skill set to the Banks.  Here's Todderick Hunt assessing the class:

Rutgers addressed each facet of the running back position in the recruiting class of 2014. In Hicks, they landed a load back with an inside-out attack, who has a chance to be special. Martin is a change of pace back with a stop and start style and the ability to catch the football out the backfield. And in Kraut, they added a complete fullback with the willingness to do the little things that don't always show up on the stat sheet, yet he can also have a very tangible effect on the game.

Who's Ahead on the Depth Chart?

Kevin Recio has the running back situation covered for the guys pushing for playing time this year.

Top 5 Targets

Dontae Strickland is a 5'11" 180 pound 3* running back from South Brunswick. Strickland has offers from five schools in addition to Rutgers: Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Temple, Virginia and UMass.  Rutgers is in great shape with Strickland, but as explained below, he might not be the only one they have to convince.  Strickland is more of an up-the middle, inside-out type back.

Nas Bonner is a 5'10" 3* back from Imhotep Institute (Philadelphia).  Bonner has about a dozen offers, including RU, Wisconsin, Arizona State, Indiana, Purdue, UConn, WVU and Wake Forest.  Wisconsin appears to be his early favorite, but RU is definitely in the mix with Bonner. Similar build to Strickland, but he's more of a quick, jump-cut back than a crasher.

Quadree Henderson is a 5'8" 170 lb. 3* back from Wilmington, Del.  A little smaller than the other guys, he more than makes up for it with quickness and shiftiness.  As you can see in the tape, he is also a master of what I'll call the Brian Leonard Special, catching a pass in the flat and taking it to the house.  He has eight offers including Rutgers, BC, Clemson, Nebraska, Ohio, Pitt, Temple and WVU.

Josh Adams is a bigger 3* back from Warminster, PA, listed at 6'3" 210 lbs.  He has offers from RU, Penn State, BC, Notre Dame, Pitt, Stanford and Temple.  Rutgers is a bit of a reach here given that offer sheet, but it's not out of the question.

Rob Ennis is a 5'10" 180 lb. back from Millville, NJ.  His running style is more like Strickland's, in that he is good through the line and has impressive straight line speed.  Ennis picked up his Rutgers offer in the beginning of March.  Otherwise, his recruitment has been unter-the-radar, and his only other offer is from Toledo.  His recruitment could blow up as the summer camp season gets under way.

Recent Developments

Top target Dontae Strickland visited Rutgers on Tuesday, his third visit to the Banks in the last month. A series of visits in a short time frame is always a good sign.  Strickland is a primary target for Kyle Flood and company, and frankly, symbolizes exactly the type of player Rutgers cannot let get away - a talented Middlesex county player from a school with a pedigree of sending top talent to RU (paging Mr. Sanu. . .).  Strickland is also very close with two other prime Knight targets, Sayreville's Myles Hartsfield and Don Bosco's Daivon Ellison. A Strickland commit could go a long way toward securing commitments from Hartsfield and Ellison as well.  All three have flirted in the direction of that team from Pennsylvania, but except for Hartsfield, the love has not been coming back to the Jersey guys. Update: Todderick Hunt reported this morning that Strickland will be on campus once again for the Scarlet-White game next week, and although he plans to explore his options for a few more months, Strickland is not ruling out a Knights commitment sooner than that.

Quadree Henderson played in the Plyon 7 on 7 tournament in North Jersey last weekend, and visited Rutgers before the tournament started. Rutgers is probably recruiting the versatile athlete as a slot receiver as well as a running back, and he apparently hit it off with Rutgers WR coach Ben McDaniels.  The Knights are currently on the outside-looking-in at his top three of Pitt, WVU and Boston College, but he plans to make another trip to Rutgers in the coming weeks.  Henderson says he will commit on September 12, his birthday.

Shane Simpson (Easton, PA) visited Rutgers two weeks ago, and came away impressed. The Knights have not pulled the trigger on an offer yet, but according to an interview with Todderick Hunt following his visit, Rutgers staff told him they will be visiting his school now that the evaluation period is open, and an offer is on its way soon.

The Knights are hosting at least one RB visitor today in Charles Snorweah, a 5'10"176 lb. burner from Pennsbury (Fairless Hills, PA).  Snorweah's tape is pretty impressive.  He shows track star speed and nice elusiveness. Update: Snorweah committed to Rutgers on his visit.


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