April 16, 2015 --
"Guarantano Chooses Vols, Martial Law Declared"
"Garden State in Mourning Over Teenager's College Choice"
"Rivals Message Board Implodes on Itself, Creates Super-Massive Internet Black Hole"
"Football Program Disbanded By Order of the Governor to Prevent Rioting"
Dystopian headlines from the future, just a few days from now?
It is no secret Rutgers is recruiting Bergen Catholic's Jarrett Guarantano HARD. He has been on campus multiple times in the past few months, the entire staff went to his school over the winter, and Rutgers is certainly putting in the effort with the talented QB. That effort is paying off, as Rutgers went from being an after-thought, not mentioned in Guarantano's top-4 over the summer, to being a very serious, top-three contender, with Tennessee and OSU as his decision approaches.
Guarantano is scheduled to announce his decision on April 15. If he chooses creamsicle or the wrong shade of scarlet uniform, the collective hyperventilating from Rutgers internet community will be monumental. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Rivals' servers might melt from all the hot takes.
Because Jarrett Guarantano is a very talented player, and because fans hope he may be able to lead a squadron of other talented players to Rutgers. In other words, to sound the trumpet that wakes the sleeping giant. I sure hope that he does. Time for the giant to get off its arse and start stomping people, as the prophets foretold.
But if Guarantano doesn't choose his home-state Knights, is it over for Rutgers? Is all hope lost, and a period of darkness bound to descend upon our land, if JG dons an orange cap next week?
A New Hope Rises
Dwayne Haskins says no. Or not necessarily, anyway. 200 miles south, there is another fanbase pegging its hopes on the decision of a local hero quarterback, and similarly dreaming he can be the one to keep a critical mass of local talent home. Terps fans view Haskins like Rutgers fans view Guarantano - the pied piper, the leader, the spark to ignite the program. RU has #RUDreamTeam16, Maryland has #TheMovement, of which Haskins is viewed as the key piece. And Maryland is loaded with talent, just like New Jersey.
There is one key difference though: while Guarantano is from New Jersey, and is the son of a Rutgers Hall of Famer, Haskins is not actually from Maryland. He is originally from New Jersey. He considers New Jersey to be his home-state, and he grew up in Highland Park, in the shadow of Rutgers stadium. He was coached by Mo Sanu, modern-day Rutgers football royalty. He is very close with Rutgers commits Mo Jabbie and Jon Pollock, and they are constantly needling each other on Twitter. Haskins has also been on campus multiple times, including as recently as this weekend. In other words, Maryland fans would be wise not to overlook Rutgers as a possible landing spot for the object of their messianic QB hopes.
Haskins could bring a ton of DMV talent with him too. As just a few examples, in the past two weeks, Rutgers has hosted 4* Maryland receivers Steven Smothers and Tino Ellis, both of whom had very favorable impressions of RU after their visits. Haskins' high school teammates, Cameron Brown (linebacker) and Patrick Johnson (DB) were at RU for unofficial visitors weekend a few weeks ago, and also came away impressed. Jovani Haskins of Bergenfield, Dwayne's cousin, is a spectacular TE prospect, and all-world Philly TE Naseir Upshur would have no problem playing with Haskins at RU, should it work out that way.
While we would love to have the Wizard of Oradell lead us to the promised land, the Hammer of Highland Park is a tremendous player and leader as well, and he could provide just the recruiting landslide Rutgers needs -- only comprised of players born a little further south.
A Haskins commit would have the added benefit of turning Maryland's #Movement dreams to ash, never a bad thing for a division rival we play every year from now to eternity. That makes me want Haskins even more, now that I think about it - his commitment would be awesome for us, AND bad for a rival. Win-Win.