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National Signing Day 2015: Rutgers football class of 2015 commitments

The annual college football holiday comes to a close. Where do the Scarlet Knights stand with the 2015 class?

Paramus Catholic (NJ) ATH Najee Clayton
Paramus Catholic (NJ) ATH Najee Clayton
Student Sports

Today is the day that keeps fax machines in business. Yes, it's the 21st century and teenagers are all about cutting edge stuff and everything new, so why not force them to use an archaic form of communication?

This year, Kyle Flood brings in a class on the fringe of the top 50 according to the 247 Composite. The group is led by four-star DE Marques Ford, who decommitted from Tennessee after a "misunderstanding" with the Volunteer coaching staff. LB Sidney Gopre should finally be able to join the Scarlet Knights after going the prep school route, but it looks like we'll have to wait for his arrival this summer. For this class, Alkadair Ports might be a candidate for prep school before getting to campus.

Overall, this class has a lot of solid commitments with players who have offers from Ohio State (Ronnie James), Louisville (Nakia Griffin), Tennessee (Marques Ford), Florida (Najee Clayton), Michigan State (Jawuan Harris), and tTFP (Kamaal Seymour). Kyle Flood even replaced Blake Camper with a solid lineman in IL OT Jack Shutack. Despite the lack of star power, this class has the potential to have some breakout players similar to Robert Martin, Josh Hicks, and Andre Boggs from the '14 group.

If there is anything that puts this class in perspective, it's this:

Class of 2015 Commits

(Ratings and measurables based on 247 Sports composite; Click each name for Hudl highlights)

Pos. Name Ht., Wt. Stars Composite High school (Hometown)
DE Marques Ford 6'4", 230 * * * * 0.9008 East Bay (Gibsonton, FL)
LB Sidney Gopre 6'0", 210 * * * 0.8660 Milford Academy (New Berlin, NY)
S Najee Clayton 6'3", 215 * * * 0.8610 Paramus Catholic (Paramus, NJ)
QB-Pro Michael Dare 6'2", 165 * * * 0.8584 Memorial (Elmwood Park, NJ)
OT Jack Shutack 6'6", 275 * * * 0.8439 Nazareth Academy (La Grange Park, IL)
OG Zach Venesky 6'4", 280 * * * 0.8438 Valley View (Archibald, PA)
ATH Alkadair Ports 6'1", 190 * * * 0.8392 Weequahic (Newark, NJ)
DT Kamaal Seymour 6'6", 270 * * * 0.8392 Grand Street (Brooklyn, NY)
TE Nakia Griffin 6'5", 220 * * * 0.8385 Tenafly (Tenafly, NJ)
TE Anthony Folkerts 6'5", 214 * * * 0.8342 Valwood School (Valdosta, GA)
RB Charles Snorweah 5'10", 175 * * * 0.8336 Pennsbury (Fairless HIlls, PA)
CB Blessuan Austin 6'2", 195 * * * 0.8306 Milford Academy (New Berlin, NY)
DE Jon Bateky 6'4", 235 * * * 0.8296 Poolesville (Poolesville, MD)
CB Jarius Adams 5'11", 180 * * * 0.8295 Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, FL)
WR Dontae Owens 6'0", 180 * * * 0.8289 Reading (Reading, PA)
DE Willington Previlon 6'5", 230 * * * 0.8221 Orange (Orange, NJ)
S Ronnie James 6'0", 180 * * * 0.8211 Glassboro (Glassboro, NJ)
WR Rashad Blunt 6'2", 190 * * * 0.8185 Creekside (St. Augustine, FL)
ATH Deonte Roberts 6'2", 210 * * * 0.8119 Erasmus Hall (Brooklyn, NY)
DE Ron'Dell Carter 6'3", 227 * * * 0.8091 Long Reach (Columbia, MD)
WR Jawuan Harris 5'10", 185 * * * 0.8004 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
OT Jonah Jackson 6'4", 285 * * * 0.7970 Penncrest (Media, PA)
LB Isaiah Johnson 6'2", 220 * * 0.7923 City College of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
OT Manny Taylor 6'6", 270 * * 0.7951 Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, PA)
LB Trevor Morris 6'2", 200 * * 0.7923 Malvern Prep (Malvern, PA)
P John Bowers 6'0", 180 NR Walk-on Bergen Catholic (Oradell, NJ)
K Jake Monteiro 6'0", 190 NR Walk-on Shore Regional (West Long Branch, NJ)
ATH Max Anthony 6'2", 245 NR Walk-on Philips Academy (Andover, MA)
LB Austin Rosa 6'0", 203 NR Walk-on Wilson (West Lawn, PA)
CB Alex Badine 5'11", 185 NR Walk-on Grand Street (Brooklyn, NY)


Quarterback - Mike Dare offers prototypical size for a QB prospect, as his listed height and weight on 247 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 and Jack Shutack as two 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 school senior. Sam Hellman calls Shutack's offer list "misleading as he improved significantly as a senior." Hellman also states that Tennessee had legitimate interest in Shutack's services. Jonah Jackson and Manny Taylor provide big frames and could become starters under Mitch Browning's tutelage.

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 three solid prospects in Blunt, Owens, and Harris. 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. Harris caught fire at the end of his recruitment, picking up late offers from Michigan State and Kentucky. It shows that he was under-recruited, most likely due to his early commitment to FAU.

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 recently rose in his 247 rating with three-stars and Rivals has him as a three-star prospect as well. 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 Marques Ford choosing Rutgers. Ford is an ESPN 300 recruit and 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.

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. And don't forget about South Carolina graduate transfer (and South Jersey native) Kaiwan Lewis, who is immediately eligible for the 2015 season.

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 Najee Clayton's decision to join RU. 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 attempted to poach Adams. Adams was interested enough in what Michigan had to offer to take a visit, but Rutgers secured his commitment after all. Ronnie James (brother of current RB Paul James) and Alkadair Ports rounds out a very strong position group for 2015 (although Ports looks to be going the prep school route).

Special teams - Preferred walk-on John Bowers is currently rated as the number one punter in the Northeast by Special Teams Solutions. He has a big leg and should help bring consistency to the Scarlet Knights' punting game. Jake Monteiro is a record-setting kicker from Shore Regional who could push Kyle Federico for place-kicking duties.

Class Profile

Commitments by state:

New Jersey: 8

Pennsylvania: 7

New York: 5

Florida: 4

Maryland: 2

Georgia: 1

Illinois: 1

California: 1

Massachusetts: 1

Commitments by position:

QB: 1

RB: 1

WR: 3

TE: 2

OL: 4

DE: 4

DT: 1

LB: 4

S: 2

CB: 3

ATH: 3

P: 1

K: 1