My colleague Andy Egan did a tremendous job posting on the spate of recent RU commits, commits that had On the Banks, and other sites, buzzing about the turn in Kyle Flood's - and Rutgers' - fortunes.
The big catch was California QB Hayden Rettig. Good name for a QB (I always felt we needed better player names.) He has size, skills, a pedigree. And he signed first with an SEC powerhouse. And now he's ours! And the first thing people started saying was that this is the start of something big. This kid will bring in others like him.
And then Blake Camper signed on and....
And then Anthony Folkerts from Georgia, of all places. It was a fait accompli. We had a really good QB on board and others were going to follow. It was the Pied Piper of Piscataway Effect. In fact, it is what should happen, as kids see other quality signees getting on the bandwagon. RU fans were, well, excited. As they should be.
But as I have often said and written, not so fast, my friends. Look, I'm excited about the possibilities, too. But they are just that, possibilities. And it is, boys and girls, time for a history lesson. As George Santayana wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Take a breath and read on.
How many of you remember Terrell Willis. Willis? Anyone? Well, the guy is in the Rutgers Athletic Hall of Fame, HOF Class of 2005. He set NCAA records as a freshman, and his name and the word Heisman were being mentioned in the same sentence. Truth! But his production declined after that and a poor decision to leave for the NFL draft after his junior year and....he goes undrafted. Three years and a cloud of dust.
And before him, there was another quarterback named Bryan Fortay. Started out at Miami behind Gino Torretta. Felt he was wronged in Miami by then HC Dennis Erickson so he came home to New Jersey. Threw a tremendous ball to Chris Brantley (who made a circus catch) to beat Virginia Tech. So, Bryan Fortay. Who's got him in their list of RU stars?
Okay, let's go to the early days of Greg Schiano, who in his first group of program changers brought on board Montclair's Ricki Cook. Cook was going to bring others with him. He wanted to make a difference. He played one year On the Banks then transferred to North Carolina.
I know you've heard of Savon Huggins. That, technically, is still a work in progress. But, so far, it hasn't quite gone the way most thought it would.
So why am I being so down? I'm not, I'm being realistic. You need to pause whenever someone throws out the term savior when referring to an 18 or 19-year old kid. Check the definition:
a person who saves someone or something (especially a country or cause) from danger, and who is regarded with the veneration of a religious figure.
These are kids. They have talent. They have ambition and desire. They very well might turn around the football program, and heaven knows I want them to do just that. But relax, folks.
We've got a lot of time before any of our new guys take the field.