Rutgers has placed a lot of receivers into the NFL in recent years. Kenny Britt, Mohammed Sanu, Tiquan Underwood and Tim Wright are the most prominent, with Brandon Coleman and Quron Pratt set to join them in the weeks ahead. But that illustrious history may be coming to an end, without an about-face on the recruiting trail.
How Did We Do Last Year?
"Underwhelming" is a very charitable way to describe Rutgers 2014 wide receiver recruiting. Some might call it "catastrophically awful," or quizzically ask "what wide receiver recruiting?" The 2014 class Kyle Flood signed in February included ZERO wide receivers, and two tight ends, one of whom is more of a blocker than a pass-catcher. Obviously, that cannot come close to happening again.
Wide Receiver was hit harder than any other position group in the (Not So) Great Decommitment Plague of 2014. It sounds crazy in retrospect, but many fans were wondering last summer if Rutgers would be able to find enough scholarships to take on another one or two high profile 4* receivers the staff was pursuing, because of all the top shelf pass-catching talent already committed to Rutgers.
At one point, Rutgers had commitments from 4* Manalapan WR Saeed Blacknall (now at that school in PA), 4* Timber Creek WR Adonis Jennings (Pitt) and high 3* Cedar Grove WR David Njoku (Miami), with good relationships with John VI duo Noah Brown (tOSU) and Ryan Izzo (FSU). Rutgers was also a finalist for Brooklyn's Curtis Samuel (tOSU) and Manahawkin's Mike Gesicki (ttfp), although it is not clear either of those two were ever seriously considering Rutgers. Spoiler alert: none of these guys ended up signing NLIs with RU.
Here is who did choose the Knights:
George Behr - Behr is a 6'5" 230 lb. pass-catching TE from Minnesota. Behr is athletic and has good hands. His senior highlights also show improved blocking ability. He has good size and the athletic ability to be good, but he has a lot of development work to do before he becomes a consistent contributor.
Logan Lister - Lister is a big (6'6" 265 lb.) physical tight end from Katy, Texas with impressive blocking ability. He played offensive tackle last year for his high school team to fill a position of need, so to see him as a pass catcher, one needs to view his junior highlights, not his senior highlights. He is ok as a pass catcher, and strong as a blocker. So strong, in fact, that he may end up on the offensive line down the road. Lister enrolled early, and has been at Rutgers the past semester, but has been sidelined with an ankle injury for most of spring practice.
Ntwademela (N-twa-da-may-la) Perry - Perry is a 6'3" 190 lb. WR from South Africa, with lots of athleticism, but very little football experience. He is a walk-on, not a scholarship player. That is not a knock on Perry, because Rutgers has had some tremendous players who came to the Banks as walk-ons, but Perry is undeniably a project. He has also been on campus this semester, and also been injured most of the spring.
Andre Boggs - Boggs was recruited as a cornerback, but he is a versatile, explosive athlete with the ability to make contributions on either side of the ball as early as training camp this summer, and could push for playing time early. If the secondary shows sufficient depth (early enrollee Kam Lott has been great this spring, a good sign) Boggs could end up as a receiver. Don't forget, Sanu came to campus as a safety, which lasted about five minutes, and Boggs could be a similar story.
Eric Margolis - Margolis is a linebacker, but he played some wide receiver/tight end in high school too, and could provide some flexibility if need be. However, Boggs looks like a better bet to play on the offensive side of the ball.
Who is Ahead on the Depth Chart?
Good news (and we need it after that last section): Rutgers has a ton of talent catching passes at the top of the depth chart this year. Leonte Caroo and Tyler Kroft are potential All-Americans at WR and TE respectively, and both should get a chance to play on Sundays. Ruhann Peele (expected to be fully recovered for training camp) is a nice threat on the sideline opposite Caroo, and will benefit from the double coverages Caroo will draw. Janarion Grant could be electric in the slot this year, and John Tsimis, Andre Patton and Carlton Agudosi are looking very good too. The current on-the-field pass catchers are not the problem, and with some competent QB play and minimal injuries, they will excel this year.
Nakia Griffin - Griffin, a 6'5" 220 lb. TE from Tenafly committed to Rutgers in February. He has impressive athleticism and speed, and could be a great pass-catching threat for Rutgers, with the ability to line up as a WR too. Griffin is working very hard this offseason to become even better, and he is also recruiting other NJ talent for the Knights. Think Aaron Hernandez, but far less murdery. Great pickup.
Irvin Charles - Charles is a 4*, 6'4" 205 lb. target from Haddonfield's Paul VI, and is one of the top players in New Jersey. Charles has nearly twenty offers, but Rutgers is doing well with him. Other tenders include Alabama, Penn State, South Carolina, Florida, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Securing a commitment from Charles would be a huge win for Kyle Flood and co.
What number is rutgers on your list? — I have no "list" but they on it if I had one http://t.co/aErKYlKARU— Irvin Charles (@Swirvington_) May 3, 2014
DJ Moore - Moore is a 6'1" 187 lb speedy 3* receiver form Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia). Rutgers has been recruiting him for a while, and his recruitment has recently blown up. He has been on campus multiple times in the last few months, including for last week's Scarlet-White game. His offers include Boston College, UConn, Maryland, Northwestern, Temple, Virginia and Wake Forest in addition to Rutgers. Moore won the WR MVP at the New Jersey Rivals camp a few weeks ago.
Quadree Henderson - Henderson is a 5'8" 170 lb. 3* back from Wilmington, Del. with ample quickness and shiftiness. If Henderson's name is familiar, it may be because we mentioned him as a priority running back target earlier. Henderson is being recruited as both a back and a receiver, although he looks particularly explosive out of the slot. Rivals rates him as the best player in Delaware, historically a state from which Rutgers has been able to pluck high level talent (Andre Patton, the Merrills, etc.). He has nine offers including Rutgers, BC, Cincinnati, Clemson, Nebraska, Ohio, Pitt, Temple and WVU.
Jabari Greenwood - Greenwood is a 6'4" 190 pound from Gonzaga (D.C.), and a 4* prospect. He is a very talented receiver, with a huge wingspan that allows him to go up and get balls over coverage. He has a dozen offers, and recently released a top 5 that included Rutgers, as well as Maryland, Kentucky, Michigan State and NC State. Kentucky and Maryland are believed to be his favorites, but Rivals reported Rutgers OC Friedgen and DB Coach Darrell Wilson recently visited Gonzaga to check on Greenwood and a few other talented players at the D.C. power.
Najee Clayton - Clayton is a 6'3" 180 lb. 3* receiver from Paramus Catholic. He has eight offers in addition to RU, including Florida, BC, UConn, Iowa, Pitt, Syracuse and UVA. Clayton has a good relationship with Rutgers primary North Jersey recruiter Anthony Campanile and WR coach Ben McDaniels. Clayton is a big physical target, who also blocks with zeal.
Kalif Jackson - is a 6'4" 195 lb. WR from Fletcher (Neptune Beach, FL). He has multiple connections to NJ and Rutgers. Incoming fullback Jacob Kraut was his teammate at Fletcher, he has been friends with early enrollee Kam Lott for years, his mother is a Rutgers law alum, and his father grew up in Franklin, NJ. He has double-digit offers, including Purdue, BC, Cal, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Mizzou, UCF and Temple. So far, the Florida big-three have not offered.
Jake Pickard - Pickard is a 6'5" 225 lb. TE from Millburn. He has double-digit offers, including BC, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nebraska, Syracuse, Purdue and Virginia. Rutgers is doing well with him, and he has been on campus multiple times.
Great day at #RU practice with the grandma. We love it there— Jake Pickard (@JakePickard2015) April 24, 2014