Stop me if you have heard this one before - Rutgers has some uncertainty at the QB position in the future. Seems like we say that every year. The good news is the Knights have lots of arms in the program for 2015 and beyond. The bad news: there is no heir apparent to presumptive 2014 starter Gary Nova.
The 2015 recruiting class already has one very promising QB committed in Elmwood Park's Mike Dare. But Kyle Flood and Ralph Friedgen have not stopped recruiting the position, so let's explore the options to complement Dare.
How Did Rutgers Do Last Year?
After the de-commitment of highly touted Michigan QB Tyler Wiegers late in the recruiting season, Rutgers was left in a desperate spot. Desperation does not often lead to success, but Rutgers appears to have been very fortunate, in that it was able to secure a commitment from Giovanni Rescigno, also of Michigan. Rescigno was severely under-recruited, because he played behind another star QB, Shane Morrison, now a Wolverine.
In the blink of an eye, Rescigno went from unheralded recruit with only D-2 offers to 4* prospect and Scarlet Knight. QBs tend to be recruited and committed much earlier in the process, so when Rutgers reevaluated its board and took note of Rescigno, many of the scouting services did the same. Rescigno's highlights below demonstrate an athlete with a big arm, good pocket presence, and at least some ability to make plays happen with his feet (check the designed QB run at 1:07).
Gio is not the only QB Rutgers picked up in 2014. Jefferson's J.R. Reese, son of NY Giant's GM Jerry Reese, will join the program as a preferred walk-on.
Who is Ahead on the Depth Chart?
The 2014 QB battle is familiar to readers of On the Banks. Although not 100% confirmed, Gary Nova is all but assured to be under center when Rutgers travels to Seattle to take on Washington State. But this page is about recruiting, so let's look at 2015 and beyond.
Mike Bimonte is the likely #2 to start 2014, and the Manalapan product is an academic senior/football junior with two years of possible eligibility left, 2014 and 2015.
Chris Laviano was a highly touted prospect from New York, and he has three years of eligibility left, through 2016. He was in the QB competition this spring, but Nova and Bimonte pulled away to make it a two-man race.
Walk-on Devin Ray also showed promise this spring, demonstrating some very nice velocity on his throws.
With Rescigno and Reese, that is 5 QBs on the roster for 2015. Mike Dare would be six, and one more recruit in the 2015 class would be seven. Transfers are always a possibility at the QB position, as are, um . . . other departure reasons . . . but 7 seems like a very high number of QBs, accounting for 5 of the program's 85 scholarships.
What's Going on in 2015?
Make no mistake about it: Mike Dare is a star in the making. At 6'6", he has tremendous size for a QB, and his highlight tape shows a big tough kid who does not go down on first contact, one who can hang in the pocket for plays to develop and that put a throw on a rope to his receivers.
We also know he is not afraid of competition. Why else would he forego the instant gratification of announcing his commitment when he pledged to Kyle Flood? Dare sat on news of his commitment to the Knights from June 2013 until signing day, in February 2014. Why? The only logical reason is to allow Coach Flood to bring other talented QBs - like Phil Nelson and Gio Rescigno - into the program. That is leadership; he is already putting Rutgers interests ahead of his own instant gratification.
Nevertheless, Rutgers is still recruiting another QB in the 2015 class. Coaches Flood and Friedgen have offered Montclair standout Elijah Robinson, who brings a dual-threat complement to Dare's pro-style delivery. By all accounts, Robinson will be given the chance he desires to tryout at QB, but he is a versatile athlete, and may well end up playing another skill position, on either side of the ball.
Rutgers has also been in contact with a number of other QBs. Among the more prominent, Barnegat QB Cinjun Erskine has been told the staff wants to see him throw in person this summer before extending an offer. Similarly Tyler Davis (Mepham, NY); Patrick Kehoe (Cheshire, CT); and Ryan Adzima (Wallington, NJ) have drawn long looks from the Knights, but no offers yet. Rutgers is likely being very careful with its remaining scholarships, knowing it can likely only offer one other QB in this class.
Stick with On the Banks for updates on the signal-callers of the future.