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Rutgers football recruiting class of 2013: Review, progress, and future outlook

Grant’s TD on his first career touch was proper foreshadowing.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Rutgers
Grant is the MVP and has delivered many great moments like his two TD game v WSU.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

After tomorrow there will be only seven more Wednesdays until National Signing Day. The recruiting trail looking forward will be covered by Chris Drabik.

This weekly segment focuses how each of the last five recruiting classes have performed and their outlook for the future. We continue with the recruiting class of 2013. (Class of 2016 here; 2015 here. 2014 too.) When a Rutgers quarterback gets this offense really going again, it’s going to take the pieces around him to block, tackle, and make plays. This group joined with the Big Ten on the horizon after some of them had already made a decision.

Most contributions in the last four seasons:

1. Janarion Grant - WR, Pasco, Dade County, FL

State (FL) Overall Ranking: 87 National ATH Ranking: 40

Wow. He made RU worth watching the last two years and is far and away the best player of this recruiting class. I was not in the stadium yet against Fresno State when he made his return, but luckily had plenty of other opportunities to see him take it to the house, including a KR and a PR in the rain at home against WSU last year. Had he not been injured perhaps RU pulls out a B1G game or two in 2016. At the very least he gets them on the board in one of the embarrassing shutouts either rushing, returning, receiving, or even passing.

Spring projection: NFL draft, possibly returning to RU if medical redshirt approved.

2. Dorian Miller - G, Metuchen, Metuchen, NJ

State (NJ) Overall Ranking: 14 National OG Ranking: 20

Miller has started two years. As the only offensive lineman in this class, that is key to linking the highly rated 2012 OL recruits to the more recent ones. He needs to remain a stabilizing force on the line as it’s only senior next year when he may in fact move to center. Time will tell, but he is a reliable contributor.

Spring projection: Starting Center. May shift back to guard in fall.

3. Justin Goodwin - RB, Madison, Madison, NJ

State (NJ) Overall Ranking: 31 National RB Ranking: 73

The savior of the 2013 SMU game and the less heralded running back of this class, Goodwin delivered plenty of big moments. In the 2014 win at Navy he went in beast mode subbing for an injured Paul James after having made an interception earlier in the season having been moved to CB. He has gotten a bad rap from the fan base that wanted to see more Martin and Hicks, but that was not fault of his as a solid soldier throughout his career who did whatever the staff asked.

Spring projection: Graduation.

Rutgers v Navy
Goodwin ran for over 100 yards and a score replacing an injured Paul James in a win against Navy in 2014.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

4. Andre Patton - WR, St. Elizabeth, Wilmington, DE

State (DE) Overall Ranking: 1 National WR Ranking: 104

The best player out of Delaware, Patton was still more highly regarded in basketball than football. His highlight reel is lengthy but he never turned into a consistent chain moving wide receiver. He was a victim of 4 different OCs, and never more than 1 year of the same QB. If you watched the bowl game vs UNC he was open at will and even more impressive than Carroo or Grant in that game.

Spring projection: Graduation.

5. John Tsimis, WR - Bergen Catholic, Oradell, NJ

State (NJ) Overall Ranking: 28 National WR Ranking: 137

Tsimis’s recruiting rankings were affected by his size, and a knee injury that cost him his senior year. Rutgers stuck with him and he rewarded them with some key plays especially @ WSU and in the Michigan win. I’m sure he will find a place to play his final year of eligibility if he decides he wants to even though he is a true Jerseyan and Scarlet Knight.

Spring projection: Graduation, perhaps 5th year elsewhere in FBS.

6. Sebastian Joseph, DT - Stroudsburg, Stroudsburg, PA

State (PA) Overall Ranking: 39 National SDE Ranking: 72

One of the lower ranked recruits in this class, he has been a two year starter. Last week he mentioned that he needs to step up in 2017. The guy is chiseled out of granite and hopefully a second year in the same defensive scheme will allow him to make more of an impact. He has battled constantly to retain his starting spot, which he has done and now needs to show even more leadership.

Spring projection: Starting NT.

7. Chris Laviano - QB, Holy Trinity, Hicksville, NY

State (NY) Overall: 3 National QB Ranking: 31

Don’t shoot me, but he did start 18 consecutive games before the staff decided he wouldn’t see the field again. His decision to transfer is not that surprising, but it us unfortunate that his legacy will always include spiking the ball on fourth down in what was otherwise his best and likely the team’s best game in the last two seasons. Good luck! His toughness was underrated.

Spring projection: Graduation, perhaps 5th year elsewhere in FBS.

8. Anthony Cioffi - SS, Jonathan Dayton, Springfield, NJ

State (NJ) Overall: 42 National CB Ranking: 46

Cioffi went from fan favorite to goat over the course of his career. He delivered plenty of key moments, fumble recovery @ WSU, INTs against Indiana & PSU, the forced fumble against Louisville (pictured further down in this article). A guy who came in having sub 4.5 speed, he ended up probably putting on too much weight as per direction of the two coaching staffs. His leadership and gamer mentality will be missed.

Spring projection: Graduation.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Indiana
Turay’s sack here was a big play but it was punt block TD that keyed the win against Indiana in 2015.
Matt Kryger-USA TODAY Sports

9. Kemoko Turay - DE, Barringer, Newark, NJ

State (NJ) Overall: 40 National WDE Ranking: 72

An uneven career would be putting it mildly. Scouts were ranking Turay purely on size because when he got his Rutgers offer, he hadn’t yet played a down of varsity High School football. His spot on this list could be higher depending on perspective because on one hand his first game against WSU his QB pressure sealed that game along with several blocked kicks. 2015 and 2016 were almost lost seasons for him due to injuries. I expect he will be hungry and healthy as a senior in 2017. The team needs his game-changing ability in a big way.

Spring projection: Backup DE, hopefully playing more in fall.

10. Nick Arciadacono - TE, Archbishop Wood, Warminster, PA

State (PA) Overall: 27 National TE Ranking: 43

A steady player as early as a true freshman, he bounced between first and second string for 4 years at TE. Initially coming to the team after his brother Brandon and overshadowed by the rest of his family at times, we probably won’t know what we had until he’s gone. He delivered some key blocks and key touchdowns and didn’t seem to ever be injured. His TD from Gio broke the futility streak.

Spring projection: Graduation.

11. Myles Nash - DE, Timber Creek, Sicklerville, NJ

State (NJ) Overall Ranking: 19 National ATH Ranking: 37

This is a B1G player, somewhere on the field or so it seemed. A high prospect from the state of New Jersey, getting him on the banks seemed like a solid move. Injuries, Turay’s initial success, and moving all over the field may have hindered his development. This past season he played in the pass rush package which RU never seemed to be in because they were always trailing and rarely faced obvious passing downs. He has one more season to reach his potential.

Spring projection: Backup DE, pass rushing specialist.

12. T.J. Taylor - LB, South Brunswick, Monmouth Jct, NJ

State (NJ) Overall Ranking: 43 National ATH Ranking: 139

Taylor like Nash seemed like the type of athlete Rutgers would need to develop to compete in the B1G. He was originally a safety before being moved to linebacker after several knee injuries. When he is on the field, he is a valuable special teams contributor with his athleticism. If fully healthy, he may even get another crack as a starting LB.

Spring projection: Backup WLB. Special teams captain.

13. Devan Carter - LB, Brighton, Rochester, NY

State (NY) Overall Ranking: 15 National ILB Ranking: 74

RU went to the Rochester pipeline again to snag Carter who seemed like a nice piece to a pro style offense or base defense. The same story as several others previously mentioned, he bounced between several positions which was even tougher for him going offense to defense. A valuable depth provider in the pro set, we wish him the best!

Spring projection: Graduation, may play 5th year elsewhere.

Rutgers v Louisville
Cioffi, seen here as a true freshman sacking and forcing a fumble on All-American Bridgewater played several positions for RU just like Nash, Taylor, and Carter above.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

No longer with the program (in order of how much he has been missed):

1. Nadir Barnwell - CB, Piscataway Twp., Piscataway, NJ

State (NJ) Overall Ranking: 8 National ATH Ranking: 8

The previous Jabrill Peppers prototype, Barnwell was a consensus 4 star recruit. He started in 2013 as a true freshman and 2014. The team has still not recovered from his dismissal. Next stop: TBD

2. Delon Stephenson - CB, Milford Academy, New Berlin, NY

POST Ranks: State (NY) Overall Ranking: 5 National CB Ranking: 2

Another early enrollee, Stephenson had committed a year earlier but spent a semester at Milford before joining his brother on the banks. He had to play at corner as a true freshman before starting as safety in 2014 making a few memorable INTs. His willpower against Maryland helped win that game. Next stop: TBD

3. Lester Liston - LB, Hargrave Military Academy, Chatham, VA

PST ranks: State (VA) Overall Ranking: 20 National LB Ranking: 2

Linebacker depth has been a concern since his recruitment. Filled with RU pride (his twitter handle is RUbound25) he was the backup MLB almost from Day 1 and has B1G size. A violation of team rules and he was gone. Next stop: Unknown.

4. Nick Internicola - DE, University School, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

State (FL) Overall Ranking: 90 National OLB Ranking: 46

Internicola was a solid recruit who RU was trying to grab along with his fellow HS teammate and 4 star recruit Skai Moore. It didn’t take long before he was headed to the warmer, greener pastures closer to his home. Next stop: Florida Atlantic.

5. Taylor Marini - TE, Lake Mary, Lake Mary, FL

State (FL) Overall Ranking: 202 National TE Ranking: 53

The first fax to come through, Marini looked like a long receiving TE similar to Tyler Kroft but over 250. I thought he was a steal especially when he was so good in NCAA Football 2014! Next stop: Southern Miss.

6. Josh Klecko - DT, Red Bank Catholic, Red Bank, NJ

State (NJ) Overall Ranking: 36 National DT Ranking: 85

Bigger than his brother out of high school and with more offers, his pedigree seemed like a steal. The staff experimented with him at fullback (like his brother in the NFL) before he moved on. Hopefully Tim Rehm can get him back on the field after several injuries. Next stop: Fordham.

7. Bryant Gross-Armiento - CB, American Heritage, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

State (FL) Overall Ranking: 230 National S Ranking: 113

Gross-Armiento looked like a guy who would eventually see time at DB as yet another defensive back with potential in this class. He was constantly injured and never really contributed to the Demon Deacons. Next stop: Wake Forest. Maybe a 5th elsewhere.

8. Dontea Ayres - RB, Middletown, Middletown, DE

State (DE) Overall Ranking: 24 National RB Ranking: 59

Ayres was discussed as possibly playing as a true freshman after Jamison’s early departure and only Huggins returning with experience at RB. One game into the season where Paul James exploded at Fresno State and those thoughts were quickly tempered. Then when Goodwin exploded against SMU, extinguished. Next stop: Towson.

Rutgers v Minnesota
Patton’s leaping TD against Minnesota was one of the most impressive catches of his career.

20/20 Hindsight:

1. Strengths A. Versatility and athleticism: The purpose in this class was to improve team speed which it certainly did. Unlike the class that followed it, this class had plenty of players of above average straight line speed at their positions. B. Early contributions: 9 of the 21 scholarship players had to play as true freshmen to ensure RU would be bowl eligible. Only one of them really got significantly better after that.

2. Weaknesses: A. Overall numbers epitomized by just one offensive lineman. With just 13 players that likely will graduate, it was an overall disappointment. The lack of offensive linemen from this class was clearly evident this year and next. B. Character. Normally you hear coaches of struggling teams preach the character of their teams, but this group absolutely does not fit that bill.

3. TBD. The book is almost closed on this group. Grant’s possible return, an improbable jump by Turay or Nash are all that this group probably has left in the tank.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Indiana
Miller (left) has one more year at RU as the starting left guard, unless he moves to center.
Matt Kryger-USA TODAY Sports

4. Lack of star power and unfulfilled potential. From the players dismissed (3 of which were on the two deep as true freshmen) to the players with tremendous athleticism that never fully developed, the what ifs Greg Schiano who initially recruited some of these guys and had them for 4-5 years are plentiful.

5. Too many moving pieces. So many of these players never settled into a position that ultimately hurt their development like Nash, Taylor, Carter, Cioffi. Players like Grant and Tsimis were not properly utilized throughout their entire careers either.

NOTE: For the rankings in this article I arbitrarily chose 247 rankings. We will dive into composite recruiting rankings at a later date.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Rutgers
Tsimis will be missed leaving behind plenty of memorable moments.
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports