I'm not a big fan of the star system of rating kids, which tends to be overly-dependent on how kids perform in shorts and t-shirts at particular camps. Some of Rutgers best ever were two star or no-star prospects. And a certain criminally underrated two-star QB commit just made the Elite 11 Finals . . .
On the other hand, a lot of four-star guys really are more talented than most of their peers, and Rutgers would certainly love to obtain commitments from many guys boasting four-star rankings.
For the star-gazers among us, here's my top-5 list of uncommitted 4-star players (as rated by Rivals), in order of how likely they might be to commit to RU (1 being most likely).
5. Ron Johnson, DE (Camden, NJ)
Johnson is one of the premier D-Line prospects in the country, and with his Camden teammates Brad Hawkins, Jamal Holloway and Dymelle Parker, Johnson has made numerous trips to Rutgers. I think there is work to do here, and at this time, Rutgers prime competition appears to be Miami, Michigan, South Carolina and North Carolina. Johnson recently cut his list to 15, and plans to cut it again before his senior season, with a decision to follow football season.
4. Johncarlo Valentin, OG (Philadelphia, PA)
Valentin is a behemoth Offensive Guard, standing 6'4" 344 pounds. Rutgers only offered him in May, and may have some ground to make up, but Valentin is at least intrigued by the possibility of playing for a B1G program close to home. Primary competitors at this time appear to be Michigan, Auburn, Arizona State, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
3. Steven Smothers, WR/KR (Reisterstown, MD)
While Rutgers 2016 class already boasts three WR commits, and there may not be many remaining spots left, Smothers might be an exception, even if one or two more WRs commit. That is because he plays such a different type of receiver spot - he's more like Janarion Grant than a bigger possession receiver. Smothers is a 5'9" 160 pound offensive blur, and god-brother of former WVU star and current St. Louis Ram Tavon Austin. Smothers will play in the slot, and all over the field, as well as contribute as a returner on special teams. He has taken multiple trips to Rutgers this year, and identified Rutgers as one of his leaders to Todderick in May. Primary competition appears to be WVU, ttfp, Maryland and Nebraska. Smothers is not expected to announce his decision for a while, perhaps waiting until signing day.
2. Patrice Rene, S (Alexandria, VA)
6'2" 203 pound Patrice Rene is a safety originally from Canada, and was playing there when Rutgers was the first school to offer him. He now plays at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and could decide where he will go to school soon. Ohio State was formerly thought to be Rutgers primary competitor for his services, but it's not clear if eh still has a committable offer from the Buckeyes. Keep an eye on Michigan too, as he was expected to visit the Wolverines this weekend (although he does not have an offer yet), as well as North Carolina and VaTech.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">2016 DB Patrice Rene says he's probably ready to commit in July, likely after Ohio State's Friday night lights <a href="http://t.co/3NPw2Wl9k7">pic.twitter.com/3NPw2Wl9k7</a></p>— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) <a href="https://twitter.com/TomVH/status/609432675326279680">June 12, 2015</a></blockquote>
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1. Kelvin Harmon, WR (Palmyra, NJ)
To Rutgers fans chagrin, Harmon's recruiting has recently blown up, as he has garnered offers from UNC, South Carolina and NC State. He received an offer from South Carolina this weekend, and recently earned his fourth star from Rivals after winning MVP at WR at a recent Rivals camp. Despite his recruiting taking off, with new schools in the mix, Rutgers is still in a good place with Harmon, who announced he will put out a top 6 in the coming weeks.