With Rutgers' spring football game just over two weeks away, the Scarlet Knights community is understandably focused on the goings on at Chris Ash's first spring football season. But as we've come to learn, the recruiting game never stops. Over the past few days, some interesting bits of recruiting information have come up, so let's take a look at the latest on the program's never-ending search for future Scarlet Knights.
Hansard Dashes Decision Date
Rutgers is a legitimate candidate to land four-star DT Fred Hansard (Princeton, NJ). After the 6-3, 305 prospect announced he would be announcing his college decision on his birthday on May 14, the Scarlet Knights hoped they would win a huge recruiting battle heading into the summer. We now know that will not be the case.
The Scarlet Knights and all of the other teams courting Hansard will have to wait longer to learn his decision. After initially moving his decision up a day to May 13, he revealed that he changed his mind again and will wait on his decision.
It's not all doom and gloom for Rutgers, though. The Scarlet Knights are included in Hansard's top seven, which also includes Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Tennessee, and Pitt. But this is certainly not good news.
Hansard is not only the third-ranked prospect in New Jersey (according to 247), but he is also one of the top interior linemen in the nation. An early commitment from him would have given the Scarlet Knights huge momentum heading into a crucial summer of recruiting. The longer he is uncommitted, the more big name programs can try and lure him away. In addition to those listed in his top seven, he also holds offers from programs like Michigan State, Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Ole Miss, and more.
His most recent visit was to Ann Arbor for the Wolverines' spring game. Hopefully Ash and his crew can get the big man back on the banks soon to continue to try and sell him on the idea of becoming a Scarlet Knight.
RU Cracks Ruiz's Top 12
The nation's top center, four-star Cesar Ruiz (Bradenton, FL) recently announced his top 12. Interestingly, Rutgers made the cut, coming in at No. 12.
Top 12 in order. God Bless. Thank You pic.twitter.com/ovCv8TVmc2— S A U C Y ™ (@_OverCees) April 3, 2016
It's obviously going to be a daunting task for the Scarlet Knights to overcome teams like Alabama and North Carolina (Ruiz's top two), but it says a lot that they're even in the discussion.
While he's currently at IMG Academy in Florida, he is originally from Camden. His top 12 mostly consists of perennial powerhouses, but it is clear that staying close to home is something Ruiz is seriously considering. In addition to Rutgers, Temple also made Ruiz's list, coming in at No. 10.
Ruiz also clearly knows a thing or two about Rutgers' history. During his visit on March 29, he donned a uniform to take some pictures in, as most recruits do. But Ruiz donned No. 52, the immortal number of Eric LeGrand.
Ash has his work cut out for him if he wants to pull Ruiz away from 'Bama and the other big name teams, but landing Ruiz would be a huge boost for a position group that will lose three starters after the 2016 season.
Duke Pushing for Tverdov?
Three-star defensive end Mike Tverdov (Union, NJ) has long been considered a lock to eventually end up on the banks. But it seems Rutgers may have a competition on their hands, as Duke seems to be making a legitimate run at the pass rusher.
Rutgers was the second team to offer Tverdov when they did so last June. Since then, Tverdov has made five unofficial visits to the banks, including his most recent visit during February's Junior Day.
In the less than two months since that Junior Day, interest in Tverdov, the top defensive end in New Jersey, has spiked. He has received five offers in that time span, including one from the Duke Blue Devils on February 23. Tverdov visited Duke last weekend, and seemed to really enjoy his time there.
For what it's worth, earlier this week, 247's Crystal Ball showed a new prediction - that Tverdov will end up at Duke. Granted, the prediction came from a Duke insider, but it's still notable since it's the first prediction that has Tverdov not coming to Rutgers. Something to keep an eye on.
2018 QB Coming to Visit
Winston Churchill once said, "It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time."
Chris Ash clearly never heeded that advice.
Ash and Rutgers will be hosting four-star 2018 QB Allan Walters (Paramus, NJ) this weekend, looking to make a good impression on the supremely talented gunslinger.
Walters is just a sophomore, but he already holds offers from 11 schools, including Rutgers, Michigan, Alabama, Ole Miss, Louisville, and more. He has the makings of a player who is going to explode on the national stage over the next several months, and building a rapport with him early can only help Rutgers.
Despite the offers from several big time programs, Walters seems to have a genuine interest in Rutgers telling NJ.com, "The home state school, it doesn't get much better than that to have the opportunity to put on for your home state."
Considering Walters' National Signing Day is still almost two years away, this story is far from over, especially with his former Paramus Catholic coach Chris Partridge a dangerous presence at Michigan. But a strong visit on Saturday could increase Rutgers' chances of landing the highly sought after passer in the long run.
Liking what Chris Ash has done as a recruiter so far? Think Hansard stays home and joins Rutgers? Can the Scarlet Knights jump from No. 12 to No. 1 for Ruiz? Sound off in the comments below!