If there's one thing that was confirmed the night Chris Ash announced his camp rivaling Michigan, it's that pretty much everybody in New Jersey hates Chris Partridge and Jim Harbaugh.
It was no secret that Chris Partridge was not well-liked by his former fellow New Jersey high school coaches. Although he moved on to the Michigan football staff in a recruiting role, that common sentiment remains the same. It's also no secret that the reason he got that job at Michigan was because of Rashan Gary. He was then promoted to special teams/linebackers coach this offseason and is now spearheading the recruitments of 4-star Paramus Catholic players Drew Singleton and Cory Bolds.
There is the possibility New Jersey coaches are mad that Partridge has been getting great jobs that they feel he doesn't deserve. It is also possible that they don't like Partridge and Harbaugh for the way they go about recruiting New Jersey.
Harbaugh comes into Jersey and plucks out the players he wants. He wastes no time building relationships with coaches and schools not called Paramus Catholic.
Don Bosco's Greg Toal, New Jersey's most legendary high school football coach, told Keith Sargeant of NJ.com that he had no relationship with Harbaugh.
In the same article, Bergen Catholic's Nunzio Campanile, considered by many an enemy of Rutgers, had some choice words about Harbaugh and his relationship with Paramus Catholic:
"Obviously, Michigan wants to conspire with Paramus Catholic to do whatever they want to do,'' Campanile said. "So I don't think they're making friends from that standpoint with a lot of these schools. I really don't know what to say about it. But it is what it is. They're obviously aligned with those guys, and if that's what they want to do, it's their business.
"But I don't think Rutgers should let those (Michigan) guys come in here and have their way. I also think that any high school coach in New Jersey who lets their kid go to Paramus Catholic has to kind of rethink what they're doing. I'm glad that Rutgers is doing it. I'm glad that Ohio State is doing it. And I hope it's extremely successful.''
This speaks volumes about how Paramus Catholic is viewed in the eyes of other New Jersey schools and coaches. This is in large part to the culture that Partridge brought to PC with players like Jabrill Peppers.
Rich Hansen of St Peter's Prep also echoed similar sentiments, saying that it is their obligation to support Rutgers and he would be encouraging his players to attend the Rutgers camp that day.
It is safe to say that Toal, Campanile, and Hansen are the three biggest names in NJ HS football at this moment and their statements on Harbaugh and Paramus Catholic clearly represent the feeling of other coaches across the state.
Good news for Rutgers: It seems clear the NJ high school coaches are lining up behind Chris Ash in the camp battle.— Steve Politi (@StevePoliti) May 10, 2016
This is a pivotal moment for Rutgers and the support from NJ coaches stems from one of Chris Ash's first moves as head coach, hiring Rick Mantz to facilitate relations between Rutgers and New Jersey high school coaches. This is clearly paying off, as Ash is receiving tons of praise and support from everyone across the state. I have yet to hear a New Jersey coach say something or even allude to something negative about the new staff.
Yes, this is New Jersey and support from local high schools should not be an issue for Rutgers. However, it is clear that Chris Ash recognized it was a shortcoming for the old staff and made a huge adjustment which has clearly paid off. Coaches are not going to force their kids to go to Rutgers, but it seems like they are now more willing to persuade their kids to stay home.
The New Jersey pride at Rutgers is at an all-time high and players all over the state are excited about the direction of the program. Chris Ash is doing everything right in his efforts to recruit the state and has set himself up for excellent success in the future.
All quotes courtesy of Keith Sargeant, NJ.com