They always told me that once you left home, you'd never find your way back. That life would find it's usual way of distracting you, and sending you on adventures and journeys that you never expected, and before you knew it... it would be too late to come home.
Well, I did it. I came home.
Joining On The Banks has been something I've wanted to do since before the site's inception. It's something that I felt given the opportunity, would be something I would relish and cherish in my own little way. I'm mere days into my new assignment here at On The Banks and i'm more than excited and fired up to bring everything I've learned and grown into to this community. This community has been, is, and will continue to be one of the most passionate communities SBNation has, and I'm so proud to be a voice for it.
Before I get into why I felt this was a great move for me, allow me to enlighten you all on what I bring to the table, and where I've been that has led me here today.
I've been covering a variety of sports since 2004, when I was just 14 years old. It started out with me covering the NFL Draft, and handing out hand-written scouting reports on prospects that I watched on Saturday afternoons to my friends in high school. Some people laughed at me, and others saw my passion and motivated me to keep going. I stopped writing from my senior year of high school, until late 2012. I again started handing out scouting reports, only this time I was doing it on a major platform over at FanSided.com. I quickly worked my way up the ranks as one of the major talking heads of what's now known as #drafttwitter, before diving deeper into college football and recruiting.
I have previously written and worked for in some capacity (Yahoo! Sports, FanSided, USA Today Sports, and Athlon Sports). My shining moment as a writer was in 2014, when I had the true honor of covering the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, where I covered Men's Hockey, and the Skiing events. It was a true testament to just how much hard work pays off as a writer, or in anything you choose to do in life.
I was asked to express my relationship with Rutgers, and at first I was hesitant. My relationship with Rutgers is very much love/hate. I attended Rutgers for a brief time, from 2008-2010, before moving closer to home here in Pennsylvania after my mother fell sick (she's alright). I first fell in love with the Rutgers program at the age of nine, when my uncle received tickets to a game against Virginia Tech, in which they lost 58-20.
My uncle always told me that Rutgers had great tradition, but were just really bad at showing it. He told me that the only true tradition they had was losing and disappointment. I didn't understand what he meant then, but as we stand here firmly entrenched in the Kyle Flood era, I now know more deeply and painfully what he meant more than ever.
I've been to probably 30 or more Rutgers games, and it's very rare that I leave impressed or relieved. This program has been bad, very bad, for a very long time, and the future is as bleak as I can ever remember it being. The athletic department is an absolute disgrace, and there isn't a shred of integrity within the football program. Some days I'm ashamed to associate myself with the program, just based on the pure fact that there's no urgent desire to improve; but still I press on.
For those that follow me on twitter, you've probably noticed that I tweet and talk about Notre Dame football...a lot. I am in fact a die hard Notre Dame football fan. My grandfather and great grandfather both attended and graduated from Notre Dame, and it's just how I was raised. My ties to Rutgers are based more on my personal experiences, my allegiance to Notre Dame is tied to my family roots.
I want to see this football program succeed more than anyone. I want to witness the day the Scarlet Knights hoist that College Football Playoff trophy, marking them the best college football team in all of the land. I more than anything want to see High Points Solution Stadium filled with rabid fans who have been tailgating since six in the morning, and are foaming at the mouth with impatience because their Rutgers Football team is en route to an undefeated season. Maybe my dreams are outlandish, or maybe I'm just crazy. Either way, I'm okay with it. I'm a dreamer, and if nothing else, at least it helps me pass the time.
Here at On The Banks, I will be covering recruiting for the football program. I have work in partner with 247Sports for over two years now as one of their Crystal Ball analysts, and have had stints at both their Duke (basketball) and Notre Dame (football) sites. Recruiting has always been a passion of mine; having personally gone through the experience as a small-time high school football player back in the mid-2000's. I have built a lot of great working relationships with high school coaches and players, as well as some of the best recruiting minds in the business. I can only hope that I'll be able to utilize all the knowledge and information I've gained over the last few years to help On The Banks become your go-to source for Rutgers recruiting information.
I want to personally thank everyone who has welcomed me to OTB already, and to those that may after reading this, thank you in advance. Please, vent your anger to me on twitter, or email... I promise I'll listen. The future may not seem bright as we see it right now, but dark is simply the absence of light, so let's try and hold out a little hope. We've been given the platform (Big Ten) now we just need to build this house brick by boring brick.
Thanks guys, here's to many more interactions with you in the future, and as always... #CHOP