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More quick hits on recruiting

  • If you're wondering how recruiting is going at this point, my honest answer is that there's a lot of uncertainty. I don't know, and it's too early to draw many conclusions in any direction. It's a certainty that Rutgers will land several more verbal commitments by the end of June.
  • Looking at the positional numbers, more offers, especially in-state, will go out following camps when the staff gets to see players in person. It's a down year for talent in New Jersey, and Rutgers can afford to be selective. I think this is evidenced by the offers currently out. In the end, I think we'll take between 15 and 20 commits.
  • Maybe it's following a general formula that's held up for a while, but the staff seems to be looking for linemen closer to home, but is again looking out of state (to Florida, and increasingly, Maryland) for speed on both sides of the ball. For now, I'm going to keep most of my thoughts to local players.
  • June is when the recruiting season starts to heat up again. Specifically, there's another round of Combines, teams start holding their camps for rising seniors, and this is the time of year when the top quarterbacks are largely making their decisions. Typically, they'll decide before other positions do. Those dominoes, in turn, influence the remaining signal callers. As we saw last year, having a quarterback in place can be a tremendous boost for recruiting. I'd love to quote Bruce Feldman from a recent ESPN Magazine article on this specific topic, but it's behind a pay firewall online. Again, Insider/ESPN Mag is like $2 for a year if you look around.
  • It's for this reason that getting a quarterback like Camden Catholic's Joe Brennan, who's mentioned liking Rutgers, on board in the near future would be important. Quarterbacks tend to flame out in college. Even if you think D.C. Jefferson and/or Tom Savage will be good, adding another name to the mix can't hurt, and increases the odds that one of them will end up developing.
  • The highest rated player considering Rutgers at the moment is Philadelphia athlete Corey Brown, who played on the same Cardinal O'Hara team with Savage, although he was injured for most of last fall. He's been described as similar to Reggie Bush or Percy Harvin, so whether he ends up in the backfield or at receiver mostly depends on the whims of his college coaching staff. In fact, you can probably say that most prospects don't necessarily have a set position. Florida may have the edge at the moment, but the good news here is that the Gators just received two receiver commitments, and lead for James Louis, Kadron Boone, and Chris Dunkley, among others. They're also in the mix for multiple tailbacks. Several of these players will decide before Brown; the key, I think, is if he holds off for a while, and then to get him on campus in December for an official visit.
  • J.T. Tartacoff from Montgomery was the second commit in the class, and could end up at slot receiver or defensive back. I disagree with those who downplayed losing Bennett Jackson to Notre Dame here. That one hurts, unless Rutgers can lure in Brown. There are also a couple athlete types out of Delaware that we're looking at, and I still have my eye on Kamal Hogan out of St. Joe's even though he doesn't have an offer. All of the skill positions are candidates to bring in players from Florida.
  • Receiver and running back are both fairly big needs this year. DePaul Catholic possession receiver Shakim Phillips is hard to get a read on early. It's important to land one of Kevin Haplea (North Hunterdon Regional) or Jarrett Darmstatter (Barnegat) at tight end. Rutgers still has a chance with Haplea, but Penn State seems to have an early lead at the moment.
  • Offensive line is by far RU's biggest need in the class of '10. Butim Bujari (Secaucus) was the first verbal in the class. Danny Foose out of Paramus Catholic has repeatedly mentioned liking Rutgers, with the added benefit of being the best offensive lineman in the state this year. In my opinion, Foose is the absolute key to the class, and the most important recruit for Rutgers this year. He could be another Jeremy Zuttah. It would be big to get him and Brennan on board sooner rather than later. They could help lure in everybody else like Savage and Hayward did last year. Jake Kaufman out of St. Peter's Prep is the other local kid I'd like to snag here. He was spotted taking in a practice during the spring, but he's been relatively quiet for a while.
  • Similarly, Bergen Catholic linebacker Doug Rigg has spoken highly of Rutgers. Don Bosco lineman James Kittredge also has in the past (and I wouldn't mind looking at a few of the Ironmen LBs). The other Jersey prospect who would be a great get is defensive back Tejay Johnson. Lineman T.J. Clemmings from Paterson Catholic said on camera at the NJ-NE game that he was looking at Maryland and Pitt. Dominique Easley from Staten Island has mentioned several times that he's interested in getting away for college.
  • The two biggest name defenders that don't yet have a Rutgers offer are Dontae Johnson (Pennington Prep) and Sherard Cadogan (Camden Catholic). However, after loading up on defense in 2009, the team's recruiting priorities will undoubtably be focused on offensive linemen, and the offensive skill positions.
  • As far as Florida goes though, the class down there is so loaded at the skill positions that teams like Rutgers could very well sneak a top prospect North.