When premier North Jersey high school football players and other athletes want to get to the next level, they often turned to E.J. Barthel, who until this week was a coach at Explosive Training Systems (ETS) in Teterboro, New Jersey. Now, he is set to join the Scarlet Knights football staff, perhaps as a strength and conditioning assistant, although the school has not officially announced that Coach Barthel is joining the staff or what his title will be.
In a statement posted on ETS' website, Coach Barthel wrote:
Athletes, Parents, Coaches, Friends, and Family:
It is with mixed emotions that I announce my departure from Explosive Training Systems, LLC ("ETS"). While I will always stay close to the program as its #1 supporter, I have decided to take the next step in my coaching career and will be joining the 2014 Football Staff at Rutgers University.
I leave ETS feeling proud of the personal goals you have all accomplished at ETS and even more impressed with the level of commitment and sacrifices put forth by our Athletes and Parents.
Barthel grew up in East Rutherford, NJ, and played his first three years of college ball as a fullback for the Scarlet Knights. Injuries hampered his college and nascent pro career, and he transferred to UMass after his third year with the Knights.
With ETS, he has coached and developed a "Who's Who" of elite North Jersey athletes, and his connections and contacts are invaluable from a recruiting perspective.
(That's him in the background behind Ray Ray, putting a serious strain on that shirt)
Any list of Barthel's athletes is bound to miss some stellar talents. He has trained current Knights Steve Longa, Jim Hogan and Davon Jacobs; Pro Athletes like Victor Cruz and Ahmad Bradshaw and former Knight Justice Hairston, among many others.
Perhaps more important than his past successes (at least for Rutgers) is Barthel's relationship with the top flight high school talent in Northern NJ, such as 2016 studs and targets of Rutgers (and everyone else in the country) Rashan Gary, Kareem Walker (5* RB, ranked number 1 RB in 2016 nationwide) and Jarret Guarantano. Barthel and ETS also work with many strong high school teams like Paramus Catholic, DePaul and Bergen Catholic.
Barthel has been a vocal and prominent pro-Rutgers voice, and if there is any downside to what appears to be an unmitigated great hire by Coach Flood, it is that Barthel will no longer be able to work directly with the HS kids listed above and dozens more.
As a member of the staff, but not a "coach", as designated by the NCAA, Barthel will not be allowed to recruit off-campus. Nevertheless, he has terrific relationships with top-tier talent and programs, and that is always going to help Rutgers.
Rutgers got stronger today, as we welcome Coach Barthel back to the Banks.