16 9 days away from National Signing Day 2015, and it's time to take a step back and see how the class sizes up in terms of needs and targets. The class is generally wrapped up at this point, but you never know what surprises could happen until kids sign on the dotted line.
Class of 2015 Commits
(Ratings and measurables based on 24/7 Sports composite)
|Pos.||Name||Ht., Wt.||Stars||High school (Hometown)|
|DE||Marques Ford||6'4", 230||****||East Bay (Gibsonton, FL)|
|S||Najee Clayton||6'3", 215||***||Paramus Catholic (Paramus, NJ)|
|QB-Pro||Michael Dare||6'2", 165||***||Memorial (Elmwood Park, NJ)|
|OG||Zach Venesky||6'4", 280||***||Valley View (Archibald, PA)|
|ATH||Alkadair Ports||6'1", 190||***||Weequahic (Newark, NJ)|
|DT||Kamaal Seymour||6'6", 270||***||Grand Street (Brooklyn, NY)|
|TE||Nakia Griffin||6'5", 220||***||Tenafly (Tenafly, NJ)|
|TE||Anthony Folkerts||6'5", 214||***||Valwood School (Valdosta, GA)|
|CB||Blessuan Austin||6'2", 195||***||Milford Academy (New Berlin, NY)|
|DE||Jon Bateky||6'4", 235||***||Poolesville (Poolesville, MD)|
|LB||Sidney Gopre*||6'1", 210||***||Milford Academy (New Berlin, NY)|
|CB||Jarius Adams||5'11", 180||***||Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, FL)|
|S||Ronnie James||6'0", 180||***||Glassboro (Glassboro, NJ)|
|WR||Rashad Blunt||6'2", 190||***||Creekside (St. Augustine, FL)|
|DE||Willington Previlon||6'5", 230||***||Orange (Orange, NJ)|
|ATH||Deonte Roberts||6'2", 210||***||Erasmus Hall (Brooklyn, NY)|
|DE||Ron'Dell Carter||6'3", 227||***||Long Reach (Columbia, MD)|
|OT||Jonah Jackson||6'4", 285||***||Penncrest (Media, PA)|
|RB||Charles Snorweah||5'10", 175||***||Pennsbury (Fairless HIlls, PA)|
|OT||Manny Taylor||6'6", 270||**||Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, PA)|
|LB||Trevor Morris||6'2", 200||**||Malvern Prep (Malvern, PA)|
|WR||Dontae Owens*||6'0", 180||**||Reading (Reading, PA)|
|LB||Isaiah Johnson||6'2", 220||NR||City College of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)|
*Info taken from Rivals
Quarterback - Mike Dare offers prototypical size for a QB prospect, as his listed height and weight on 24/7 is a bit out of date. The latest scouting reports on Dare list him at 6'5", 205 lbs. His Hudl highlights show him having a big presence under center while having limited mobility - a true pro-style signal-caller. He's still quite raw however, as he doesn't set his feet on every throw. The good news is that he has the arm strength to make up for his mechanics. If someone like Ralph Friedgen can tutor this prospect to his full potential, he'll have a high ceiling for growth.
Offensive line - Rutgers gets solid talent in the trenches with Zach Venesky as one of the more highly regarded recruits overall. Venesky is rated as the 16th-best prospect in Pennsylvania by Rivals and has good size at 6'4" 280 for just a high schooler. Jonah Jackson and Manny Taylor provide big frames and could become starters under Mitch Browning's tutelage.
UPDATE 1/19: Blake Camper has flipped from Rutgers to South Carolina per Camper's HS coach.
Running back - The lone tailback in the 2015 class is Charles Snorweah from Pennsbury (PA). If you're looking for someone to continue the tradition of the "Leonard Leap", Snorweah could be that player. Check out his senior highlight video (a little bit before the 1:00 mark) and you'll see an insane vertical for someone his size. He's more of a speed back who can break your ankles with serious jukes.
Wide receiver - The Knights pick up two solid prospects in Blunt and Owens. Dontae Owens doesn't have elite speed, but he has great instincts as a wideout. As we wrote earlier this summer, Owens does a good job of bailing out his quarterback from high jump balls, inaccurate passes, and can find a way to make positive yardage out of nothing. Blunt is very athletic receiver who is a big YAC type of player. The Jacksonville, FL native also had offers from Cincinnati and Pitt, among others.
Tight end - Rutgers gets good size with the tight end group in this class. Nakia Griffin was a sleeper when he initially committed to RU out of Tenafly, but the recruiting services have taken notice, listing him as a three-star prospect. Other programs took notice as well, as Louisville offered him a scholarship. Rivals notes that he has a 4.67 40 time, so he could become a great weapon for the offense. Folkerts isn't rated by 24/7, but Rivals has him as a three-star prospect. Todderick Hunt lists his weight at 240 already, so he's a guy who should be able to block as well as catch.
Defensive line - Coach Panagos was happy with the 2015 class before, but he gets an immediate game changer with the Marques Ford choosing Rutgers. Ford is an ESPN 300 recruit and had boasted offers from Clemson, Miami (FL), Arkansas, and Nebraska in addition to Tennessee and Rutgers. Recruiting services show Jon Bateky has offers from Boston College, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech, but he also claims he has offers from Iowa and Wake Forest as well. Kamaal Seymour looks like a big, bad man at 6'6" 270 as a high schooler, and who wouldn't love a kid who spurned a visit to Happy Valley? Willington Previlon is a raw athlete, but Todderick Hunt tweeted earlier this year that Previlon was the best defensive lineman at the Big Man Academy.
UPDATE 1/22: Marques Ford commits to Rutgers just one day after decommitting from Tennessee.
Linebacker - This is the deepest position of the class. Sidney Gopre was actually a member of the 2013 class, but had to go the prep school route for academic reasons. He was projected to receive playing time as a freshman, so his talent is true. JUCO recruit Isaiah Johnson has the experience to compete immediately for Kevin Snyder's vacant MLB role. Trevor Morris and Deonte Roberts will add depth for the future, and Ron'Dell Carter looks like a good candidate for a hybrid DE/LB role.
Defensive back - The secondary looked like the strongest position of the 2015 class before Marques Ford's commitment, and could still have an argument with Clayton's commitment. The Paramus Catholic DB has incredible size for the safety position and could possibly grow into a linebacker role. Blessuan Austin is a sleeper only in the sense that top schools stayed away from him due to his academic standing coming out of high school. He went the prep school route with high school teammate Sidney Gopre and got his grades in order for early enrollment at Rutgers. He's a long and rangy 6'2" cornerback prospect with sub-4.4 speed to keep up with fast receivers. Another three-star prospect with a high ceiling is Florida CB Jarius Adams. Adams shows everything you want to see in a lockdown corner, so much so that newly minted Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh offered Adams last week. Adams admits he's interested in what Michigan has to offer, so Rutgers will have some work to do in securing his commitment through NSD. Ronnie James (brother of current RB Paul James) and Alkadair Ports rounds out a very strong position group for 2015.
UPDATE 1/26: Najee Clayton commits to Rutgers after his official visit over the prior weekend.
Stick with On the Banks and this page for more updates on Rutgers football recruiting as National Signing Day 2015 inches closer.