Rutgers has a nice history of turning walk-on players into key pieces, bestowing scholarships on deserving walk-ons, and in some cases sending them on to the NFL. Gary Brackett, Shaun O'Hara, Michael Burton, and Paul James, to name a few. If there's a common thread among those guys, other than their lack of scholarships upon arriving in Piscataway, it's strength of character and their work ethics. Walk-ons have thrived at Rutgers through sheer perseverance and grit.
The quality of a program's preferred walk-ons can be a vital and often overlooked piece of a recruiting class. In 2015, Kyle Flood seems to have brought in some very talented football players, without promising them a scholarship or using one of the precious 85 the program is allotted.
In a multi-part series, we will take a look at the preferred walk-ons in the 2015 class. Here are the first two.
Max Anthony, Philips Academy (Andover, MA) -- Fullback
6'2" 245 pound Max Anthony took an official visit to Rutgers before signing day, and committed as a preferred walk-on. He was a standout RB and LB at Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, NY. His high school highlights are below. As a linebacker, he demolishes ball carriers, and it's not difficult to see why he would be an effective B1G fullback, laying vicious blocks to clear a path.
Anthony will be on campus in June. He missed his senior yea rinhigh school becaue of an MCL knee injury, explaining his prep school path. He also had preferred walk-on opportunities from Syracuse and UCF.
Chris Parker, Poly Prep (New York, NY) -- WR/KR
Chris Parker is a versatile and talented athlete. His exploits on the football field are even more impressive when you consider his size - 5'8" (or maybe 5'6", depending on the source), 160 lbs. Parker ran for more than 2,000 yards in each of his four high school seasons at Brooklyn's Poly Prep. Even more impressive, many of those runs ended in the end zone, as Parker had scored at least three TDs in each of his games leading up to November 4 in the 2014 season. . . . as a Quarterback. Yeah, I think we can find a way to use a guy like that.
If this guy was a few inches taller, no doubt he would be a 4* recruit at any number of positions with that speed and those moves -- QB, RB, DB or WR. At Rutgers he is likely to be used at WR and as a kick returner. His true position is "offensive weapon" as former Michigan QB Denard Robinson is frequently designated for the Dolphins.
Up next: Alex Badine, Grand Street Campus (Brooklyn, NY) -- Defensive Back; Austin Rosa, (Wilson, PA) -- Linebacker; and D'Won Walker, St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, NJ) -- Safety