First off, Rutgers football had a big day in recruiting (basically rendering the Farrell and Lichtenfels comments discussed below moot). Adding strong Rutgers leans Brandon Coleman and Rashad Knight shouldn't surprise anyone (congrats to Kristian Dyer on the scoops), but getting Jeremy Deering over FSU at his presser just now is definitely a shocker. Makes you wonder what tomorrow has in store, for better or worse.
- Overall, it's a decent class. My two areas of concern are at QB and the offensive line. Chas Dodd could develop into a decent backup and change of pace option, but Rutgers is thin at the position right now. They were hit by the double edged sword of Tom Savage scaring away competition, and a down year for quarterbacks nationally and locally. The same kinda goes for OL recruiting, where Rutgers had no choice but to take numbers for depth purposes. Bujari's good; the others are question marks who could go either way. Some will develop and some won't.
- I really like the class of receivers we're bringing in, with all of them potential impact players. Tejay Johnson was the best receiver in New Jersey over the past year year. Jordan Thomas combines a good offer pedigree and a terrific senior season at RB. Now he'll just have to adjust in his switch over to receiver. I'll have some more thoughts up on the other signees tomorrow once they're all signed.
- There's not really cause for concern, even though recruiting did take a step back from 2009. That was largely a function of a very down year for in-state recruiting (Rutgers offered very few of the players that Rivals and Scout considered to be the best in New Jersey). True, the staff did miss out on a handful of prospects I thought they'd land, but no big difference makers. The (very) good news is that the 2011 class in New Jersey is absolutely loaded, and Rutgers looks to be in great early position there. They're being aggressive once again, and their targets are reciprocating the interest. RU is set to do very well next year, although quarterback recruiting remains the biggest question mark.
- Well, I was going to do a post about the 2010 Rivals NJ rankings, but JCB pretty much beat me to the punch with a thoroughly definitive take. The bottom line? Rutgers only wanted eleven of who Rivals called the thirty best players in state (Scout's list is equally as bad). While the writers at Scarlet Nation, Scarlet Report, and State of Rutgers know what they're talking about, the likes of Mike Farrell and Bob Lichtenfels are pretty much full of it in all respects. They can go back to cheerleading for Boston College and Pitt respectively. Are you really going to trust their judgment over the staff, and knock Rutgers for not going after certain players instead of chasing star ratings?
- The big news in the East this year was that, as was evidenced by early buzz, Penn State absolutely cleaned up - blowing its regional competition like Rutgers, Pitt, and Maryland completely out of the water. They had an absolutely banner class. If there's anything marring signing day for the Nittany Lions, is that they still have some trouble competing with other programs that are hotter on a national level. First it was USC, then Notre Dame, and now it's Florida preventing PSU from truly having a perfect class. Speaking of which, Florida's '10 class may very well be the best of any program in any year, at least in the past decade.
- Look at the Garden State. Fully one-quarter of the Nittany Lions’ recruits in the shank of the 1980s came from New Jersey. Two decades later, it was a third of that. It is a precipitous drop, one that has been steady over a longer period of time.
Penn State received 24% of their recruits from New Jersey in the 1980s, 13% in the 90s, and 7.8% in the preceeding decade. You don't say.
- Lane Kiffin's departure from USC to Tennessee is obvious on the surface. USC > Tennessee in every conceivable aspect. But for all of the hype, Kiffin and his multi-million dollar staff weren't honestly doing all that well in Knoxville. They continued to strike out with blue chip QB prospects, and the Volunteer class was an island of misfit toys, filled to the brim with JUCO washouts and academic/behavioral miscreants (along with a handful of true gets). Urban Meyer and Nick Saban were eating Kiffin's lunch. Tennessee has a weaker natural recruiting base as compared to its SEC rivals, and looks to be in very real near-term decline, with a stark inability to attract top-tier recruits or head coaches.
It'd be overly flattering to even call the Kiffin era at USC a flash in the pan, which falsely implies some modicum of substance equivalent to a pets.com level operation. All they essentially accomplished was in turning their athletic department into a not-so-subtle prostitution service. It takes a special brand of filth to make the likes of other SEC programs blush.
- Hey, did anyone see that crazy rumor about Sharrif Floyd supposedly saying that Urban Meyer promised that he'd die for Floyd around the web? It was so enticing precisely because it was so outlandish. (pay attention, anyone believing ridiculous message board rumors about Big Ten expansion this week). Problem was though that it wasn't true, or at least that's Floyd's story. That's what anyone would say in that position, but Sharrif really is such a great kid who's very easy to root for, so I believe him.