It's officially the offseason for college football, but there is plenty going on with coaching changes, transfers and less than three weeks until national signing day! Aside from all the news with our own football program, there has been a lot of news with the rest of the Big Ten East division schools. Here are updates and links for all of Rutgers division rivals, as well as our own Scarlet Knights.
The Rutgers coaching staff met with the media this week and officially hit the recruiting trail yesterday. There are less than three weeks to national signing day, so they have a lot of ground to make up. Elite 11 quarterback Anthony Russo decommitted this week, but the staff has been busy finding his replacement. Wednesday they offered Tylin Oden . Yesterday they offered two more quarterbacks, Tyrrell Pigrome and Lindsey Scott Jr. Pigrome is scheduled to visit Rutgers this Sunday.
There is sure to be a bevvy of activity on the recruiting trail in the coming days. In fact, last night coach Ash landed the first commitment of his tenure at Rutgers, flipping Temple commit and Piscataway product Elorm Lumor. Here is a great story on Lumor from Sam Hellman. It is a great statement for the staff to land their first commit in their own backyard, signaling that fencing the garden is truly underway!
Aside from local recruits, Rutgers made the final five for 4-star Florida cornerback K.J. Sails. The one time Iowa commit would be another great addition for Ash and staff, as they go head to head with Maryland for his services.
I just want to thank god for this opportunity pic.twitter.com/OnTpHxSBQ6— KJ Sails Jr 9⃣‼️ (@KJ2LiVE) January 13, 2016
Head coach James Franklin is coming off back to back 7-6 seasons in Happy Valley, raising the question as to how long the Nittany faithful will remain happy with his tenure. The program has seen two veteran coaches and five players leave this week, starting the offseason off on a bad note. Accomplished defensive Coordinator Bob Shoop left for Tennessee, which is a big loss for Franklin. He ultimately replaced him by promoting from within with longtime assistant Brent Pry. In addition, offensive line coach Herb Hand left for Auburn. They replaced him with Matt Limegrover, who has a lot of experience and seems like a big get for Franklin.
On the player front, wide receiver Geno Lewis and running back Akeel Lynch announced they were transferring. Lewis is leaving as a graduate transfer and landed at Oklahoma. Lynch lost his starting job this season to all-world freshman Saquon Barkley. While neither were major contributors last season, both provided depth and were veteran players that would have been valuable next season. In addition, linebacker Troy Reeder, cornerback Daquan Worley and linebacker Gary Wooten Jr. are all transferring as well. Reeder is the only significant loss, as he moved into a starting role after injuries and finished fourth on the team in tackles. However, he was most likely moving back to a reserve role and transferred to Delaware, where two of his brothers play. Not a star, but again another hit on the depth chart for Penn State.
The Movement could be bracing for a big loss with Dwayne Haskins receiving a lot of interest from LSU and Ohio State. That would be a big blow for the Terrapins and something to keep an eye on. They must be concerned, as they offered two other quarterbacks in the class of 2016, including newly minted Rutgers offeree, Tyrrell Pigrome.
D.J. Durkin also completed filling out his coaching staff this week. It will be fascinating to compare Rutgers and Maryland over the years, as Durkin and Ash go head to head, both on the field and with recruiting. Durkin went heavy with experienced coaches, some being former head coaches, while Ash went with a blend of youth and experience. Their coaching styles on the field will be comparable this fall, and they gohead to head in the last game of the season.
The Hoosiers locked up coach Kevin Wilson to a big extension, nearly doubling his salary and making him the sixth highest paid coach in the Big Ten. He has a 20-41 record at Indiana and is 0-2 against Rutgers and Kyle Flood, who was fired with a 27-24 record. Wilson is coming off his most successful season, a 6-7 record and bowl appearance, losing to Duke in overtime at the Pinstripe Bowl. They also signed a new strength and conditioning coach Keith Caton, who will haunt your dreams after looking at his picture.
The Buckeyes just brought former LSU offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa on to be their new offensive line coach. Ohio State is also busy looking to add a quarterback to the class of 2016, as mentioned above with Haskins being their top target. However, it appears their number two option is new Rutgers target Tylin Oden. It will be interesting to see what Haskins decides and what domino's fall afterwards.
Jim Harbaugh promoted former Paramus Catholic coach Chris Partridge to linebackers and special teams coach. Partridge was in talks with former coach Kyle Flood to join the Rutgers staff before joining Harbaugh as his director of recruiting at Michigan. The Wolverines have flourished this recruiting season and are in line for a top 5 class in the nation. Penn State commit and Rutgers target Michael Dwumfour, a 4-star defensive lineman for the class of 2016, is visiting Michigan this weekend and they are still in line for the top recruit in the country, Paramus Catholic's Rashan Gary. Ash and staff are actively recruiting Dwumfour as well.
Michigan State just keeps plugging away and added Ken Mannie as their new strength and conditioning coach. Sparty landed a big time commitment last weekend with wide receiver and Mr. Michigan recruit Donnie Corley choosing them over Michigan and Ohio State. Mark D'Antonio is quietly putting together a top 20 recruiting class and continues to be shine on and off the field.
More updates on the Big Ten East as the offseason continues!!!