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Turning the tables

JCB is a frequent commentator here, and definitely knows his stuff when it comes to Rutgers football. He hasn't been posting much at Scarlet Blog lately, but agreed to participate in what I hope will be the first of many fruitful discussions. It's the dead of offseason, so there's not all that much to talk about yet when it comes to football. One recent noteworthy event though was the staff's recruiting camp last week, so I wanted to get his take on a few lingering threads left over from that. My general perspective is that RU is doing ok to this point. A few top targets are (once again) favoring the Penn States and Floridas of the world, but that won't change overnight.

Jawaun Wynn only caught eight passes last year, but he's looked good on the Combine circuit. Should RU roll the dice with Wynn, or hold out until signing day for more high profile targets?

This one is simple, in my opinion: take Wynn. You can't teach that size and speed. He's a major sleeper if you ask me.

The 8 catches don't bother me that much. Piscataway showcases its seniors, and Wynn's production last year was hindered as a result. But he went to three camps, ran a sub 4.5 at each one, and garnered an offer from each school shortly thereafter. That tells me all I need to know. Waiting on him wouldn't be a smart move as he could potentially blow up after his senior year. And it's not like he has no other BCS options at this point. I would hate to pass on him, only to have him wind up at BC or UCONN.

If we end up with a WR class of Corey Brown and JT Tartacoff in the slot and Jordan Thomas and Jawaun Wynn as X/Z receivers, I'll be a happy fan. That's a solid coup if you ask me.

If one of our higher targets (say, Brandon Coleman for example) wants to come here, we take him. Jordan Thomas is versatile enough to play in the secondary, and if a higher caliber player like Coleman or maybe Tejay Johnson wants to come here, you don't turn him away. You can figure out where each kid will play later on. For now, if someone big wants to come here, you don't turn him away.

At the moment, Rutgers only looks to have three scholarship players at quarterback next year. What do you think about taking a flyer at this point just to get a warm body for the position? Is it better to bank a ship for players higher on the board elsewhere?

Personally, I generally think at least one QB should be taken each recruiting cycle. We didn't take one in 2007, and it seems like it could potentially hurt us next year. Granted, we took two (DC and Shimko) in 2008, but we might be stuck in an unfavorable position in 2010. (The fact that Tom Lang never worked out just exacerbates the situation).

The three QB's will all be redshirt-freshman or younger next year, and most (if not all) will have no game experience. Now, DC or Shimko (or both) could realistically see some garbage time this year given the favorable OOC schedule. The two FBS games, combined with the FIU and Army games, should provide some valuable opportunities for the young guys to gain experience. Still, we're definitely going to be green at the position heading into 2010.

Now, would taking a quarterback this year solve or ease the situation in 2010? Logic would say no. Very rarely do true freshman quarterbacks see immediate playing time. And if they do play, they generally experience growing pains. It's unavoidable.

So, is it worth it to use a scholarship (in a year when spots are limited) on someone that will likely red-shirt? I'm going to go against my usual stance and say no. If neither Savage nor DC nor Shimko prove worthy of starting next year, a true freshman isn't going to help. Additionally, you have to assume at this point that Savage is the long term guy at QB. He's going to have four years of eligibility left after this season. None of the quarterback targets this year seem talented enough to eventually unseat him. So we'd be using a scholarship on a player who likely won't have a chance to see the field until Savage leaves in 2014 (or 2013 if he declares early). I would assume the staff would be able to pick up another high level recruit at the position at some point in 2011 or 2012. This guy would be Savage's successor. Along the way, we would pick up two other capable QB's to back him up.

It's a gamble, but I don't think we should take a QB this year. Our top targets this year don't strike me as potential starters. Use the spot on another position, and go all out searching for a top QB the next two years. If worse comes to worst and we lost out on top recruits at other positions, we can offer a QB late in the process, just to get a body. Otherwise, look to next year and beyond for a signal caller.

After they looked good at the recent big man camps, Rutgers offered and received commitments from Jorge Vicioso and Frank Quartucci. OL is the biggest need for the class of 2010. Again, is this an area where where we need to be more selective, or do you trust the staff's evaluations?

I trust Coach Flood, but that doesn't mean these latest OL additions didn't leave me scratching my head a little. I'm a little more confused by the Vicioso commitment than I am about Quartucci. By all accounts, the latter plays with a mean streak, which is a must for an offensive lineman. Additionally, he was invited into Joe Paterno's office after he camped at Penn State. That doesn't happen too often. That situation, combined with the fact that PSU only has one spot left on the OL (preferably reserved for Arie Kouandjio), leads me to believe the Quartucci has some potential. If PSU is interested in an offensive lineman at this point, he must be good.

Vicioso, on the other hand, has me slightly confused. Word on the street is that he has some grade issues. Are we really in a position to be taking on academic risks when offensive line is such a priority? Additionally, by taking Vicioso, we essentially ended our recruitment of our top targets (sans Danny Foose). Was that a smart thing to do? I honestly have no idea. But the fact that Vicioso got his offer right after the Big Man camp tells me the staff obviously likes him. If Flood feels like he can mold him into a solid college player, then that's good enough for me. The fact that Vicioso plays in the NNJIL is also a good sign. He's going up against the best competition in New Jersey.

Thanks again to JCB, and I hope to feature him and other commentators here when available to shake things up a little. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any interest, questions, or comments on this or other matters.