With national signing day just two days away, coach Chris Ash and his staff continue to push hard towards the finish line. Rutgers picked up several commitments during the second weekend of official visits that concluded Sunday. On Saturday, Michigan graduate transfer Ross Douglas committed on his visit. Earlier that day, Bergen Catholic tight end Korab Idrizi, who pledged to Rutgers the previous weekend, flipped his commitment to Boston College. Yesterday, Ash received commitments from two offensive lineman, former UCONN commit Mike Lonsdorf and Sam Howson from Pope John high school. After picking up these two commits in this position group, offensive line recruit Elijah Johnson de-committed from Rutgers. Johnson has been targeted by Temple, Boston College and Pitt recently, making his change of heart disappointing, but not surprising. Ash has also shown no fear in offering recruits that are already committed to other schools.
Let's take a look at recruits Ash and staff are targeting as the deadline approaches.
Quayshon Alexander - Nebraska
Alexander is the brother of Rutgers safety Kiy Hester and has been a priority for Ash. He was on campus for his official visit this weekend as the staff made one last push for the DePaul Catholic defensive end. The 3-star recruit committed to Nebraska last June, but since his official visit there in September, he has taken official visits to Michigan, Pitt, Indiana and Rutgers. This would be a big win on the recruiting trail for Ash if they can flip Alexander, as he has a lot of potential, is a local product and is committed to a traditional Big Ten power.
Julius Turner - Louisiana Tech
The 2-star defensive tackle took an official visit to Rutgers two weekends ago and received an in-home visit from Ash and defensive line coach Shane Burnham last week. They are pushing hard for Turner, as it's a position of need as Rutgers currently has no one committed for the defensive line. Turner looks to be deciding between Louisiana Tech and Rutgers, so it figures Ash has a good chance to flip him.
Jamahl Johnson - Iowa State
The 3-star defensive tackle has been committed to Iowa State since September and took an official visit there January 15th. However, Johnson took an official visit to Rutgers the following weekend. It doesn't appear Johnson visited anywhere this past weekend, so it looks to be his decision will come down to the two schools he did visit. Ash and Burnham have pushed hard to close out this class with multiple defensive lineman. If Rutgers were able to flip Alexander, Turner, and Johnson before national signing day, it would be quite the coup.
Ke'Shan Pennamon - Wisconsin
The 3-star cornerback from Florida was supposed to visit Rutgers two weekends ago but didn't make it due to the snowstorm. According to his 247 sports profile page, Pennamon did visit this past weekend. He committed to Wisconsin in September but after defensive coordinator Dave Aranda left for LSU, Ash and staff made a late push for him. It appears Rutgers is the only other school Pennamon took an official visit to and landing him would be a huge pickup for Ash and staff.
February 1, 2016
The 3-star linebacker from Maryland appears to be choosing between Illinois and Rutgers. He took an official visit to Rutgers two weekends ago and was scheduled to visit Illinois this past weekend. He was committed to Michigan previously after being offered by former coach Brady Hoke. He re-opened his recruitment this past fall. Harding raved about his visit to Rutgers here and Ash stands a good chance to land the prospect before or on national signing day.
Three-star LB, former Michigan commit De'le Harding commits to #Illini Football https://t.co/8AJcjiVPQ2 pic.twitter.com/tth779Vlzi— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) February 1, 2016
Moore is a graduate transfer from Boston College and is a former 3-star recruit from Pope John high school in New Jersey. The defensive end would be a nice addition for this upcoming season. He took an official visit this weekend to Rutgers and all signs point to him ultimately signing with coach Ash.
Bailey is an unrated athlete from Texas who took an official visit to Rutgers this weekend. He has the potential to be a versatile piece in offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer's spread offense. While he hasn't been highly recruited, he could be a valuable under the radar pickup for the staff.
UPDATE: Bailey committed to Rutgers Monday night.
What To Hope For
Credit the staff for making a hard push in the final days before national signing day, both with in-state recruits and additional targets from across the country. A lot can happen between now and Wednesday and it's reasonable to expect Ash and staff to land several of these recruits. Turner, Bailey, and Moore seem the most likely.
Flipping Alexander and
Pennamon will be tough, but if Ash is successful in doing so, it would raise some eyebrows across the Big Ten landscape. It would demonstrate Ash's ability to flip recruits that were previously committed to traditional conference powers, such as Nebraska and Wisconsin, in these cases. Not only would both be potential key players on the defensive side in the future, but it would signal a positive change in Rutgers recruiting. And it would create momentum for Ash and staff heading into the class of 2017 recruiting cycle.