There ain't no rest for the weary, and especially not for the Rutgers football coaching staff.
With National Signing Day 2016 in the rearview mirror, most Rutgers fans are looking ahead to warm weather and the spring football mini-season. But Chris Ash remains busy on the recruiting trail. In the last week alone, Rutgers has offered 16 players, as Rutgers looks to build an expansive and deep pool of recruits to bring to the banks for NSD 2017. Here's a look at a few recent offers to keep in mind as the Scarlet Knights look to build a strong recruiting class.
DE Brad Johnson (Pendleton, SC)
Johnson is a four-star defensive end, and the fifth ranked prospect in the state of South Carolina. He displays a great balance of speed and power when he comes off the edge, and even if he can't stop the play in the backfield, he's still a threat to track down the ball carrier from behind.
For these reasons, it's a little surprising Johnson hasn't generated more interest. So far, he has just five offers, with Rutgers the most recent program to offer him when they did so on Thursday. The 6-3, 210-pound pass rusher also holds offers from national runner-up Clemson, SEC home state school South Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, and Miami-Ohio.
The Scarlet Knights will have have their work cut out for them when it comes to landing the talented Johnson. The hope is likely that if Johnson really bursts onto the scene as a senior and receives several new offers, Rutgers will have an edge after offering him early in the process.
WR James Robinson (Lakeland, FL)
With Tim Wright, Brandon Coleman, and soon Leonte Carroo in the NFL, Rutgers is looking for its next great receiver. Andre Patton, Carlton Agudosi, and Janarion Grant will all look to take a step forward in 2016, but all three are entering their final seasons with the program. Ash added three receivers to the team in this recruiting class with Mo Jabbie, Ahmed Bah, and Dacoven Bailey, but not surprisingly, Rutgers remains in the market for another elite receiver.
Robinson could very well be that guy. The four-star Florida prospect is listed as the eighth-ranked receiver in the nation, and certainly looks the part when taking a look at his film. He shows great, reliable hands that make him an excellent possession receiver. He also displays impressive cutting ability that can help him make defenders in the middle miss as he moves towards the sideline on the way to the end zone. His acceleration makes him a real threat the second level.
If his hometown of Lakeland, FL looks familiar, it's probably because you've recognized it as the hometown of current Rutgers basketball star Corey Sanders. While Ash and staff hope their recruiting chops and a positive direction for Rutgers football will be enough to lure Robinson to Rutgers, it certainly doesn't hurt that he has a connection with another Rutgers star athlete.
Including the Scarlet Knights, Robinson has received 27 offers so far, including some from Clemson, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Oklahoma, Ohio State, USC, Tennessee, and Ole Miss.
ILB David Adams (Pittsburgh, PA)
Rutgers is notably without its three starting linebackers from last season, with Steve Longa, Kaiwan Lewis, and Quentin Gause all having moved on from the program. Ash did a great job adding many linebackers in this year's recruiting class, but why stop there?
Adams, a four-star recruit, is the fourth ranked inside linebacker in the nation, and the fourth ranked recruit in the state of Pennsylvania. At 6-2, 230 pounds, Adams has strong size for the position. HIs film shows he his a hard-hitting, strong tackler with a knack for penetrating the line of scrimmage and taking down the ball carrier in the backfield. He appears to be a fierce competitor who is college-ready, and can continue to improve his resume as a senior this fall.
It's not surprising that several big names appear on Adams' offer list, which currently stands at 29 schools. Penn State seems to be in the lead right now, but Notre Dame and Pitt aren't far behind. Over the next few weeks, Adams has visits lined up with the Nittany Lions, Fighting Irish, and Panthers. The Scarlet Knights are also competing with Baylor, Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, and several others for Adams' services.
WR Evidence Njoku (Cedar Grove, NJ)
While Robinson would be a huge get for Rutgers, the local Njoku shouldn't be ignored. The three-star recruit out of Cedar Grove has a lot of potential, and could see his interest grow quite a bit if he continues to impress during his senior year.
Njoku has turned heads with his impressive size, standing at a strong 6-4, 196 pounds. He also has lightning-quick speed, using his long legs to get a jump on defenders and his acceleration to build speed breakaway speed very quickly. He also has a knack for making defenders miss tackles, and excels in one-on-one coverage.
Njoku made his first visit to Rutgers on February 13 for Junior Day. Ash's staff offered him there, and now Rutgers enters the fray with 11 other programs that have offered Njoku, including Miami, Georgia, Maryland, Penn State, and Tennessee.
QB Bruce Judson (Cocoa, FL)
Rutgers hopes they have found their quarterback in the future with 2016 commit Tylin Oden, but it can't hurt to see what else is out there, and it's hard not to be impressed by Judson.
The four-star dual-threat signal caller from Florida is a hot prospect, and has the makings of a future five-star if he continues to impress during his senior year. A look at his film shows Judson is a surprisingly powerful runner despite his 5-9, 186-pound frame. He is able to run right through defenders and turn on the jets in the defensive backfield to pick up big gains. As a passer, Judson has great arm strength, and throws bullets. You won't see many wobbly passes from Judson, instead connecting with almost all of his receivers thanks to his accuracy.
Judson's size seems to be the only issue, but that hasn't stopped him from attracting a ton of interest. Judson currently holds 23 offers, including some from big names like Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Alabama, South Carolina, Clemson, North Carolina, and Georgia. The Scarlet Knights certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to bring Judson to the banks, but doing so would be a huge coup, and perhaps a way for the program to re-establish its previous strong recruiting ties to the Sunshine State.
What do you think of Ash's job recruiting the 2017 class so far? Who do you think will be the next recruit to commit to the Scarlet Knights? Sound off in the comments below!