To say Chris Ash has done a good job recruiting would be an understatement. After years of seeing the program struggle to bring in New Jersey's top talent, Rutgers fans may have been understandably skeptical when Ash set out to build his first full recruiting class.
But he hit the ground running, reeling in some top recruits like Bo Melton and Micah Clark. Rutgers is currently fielding a Top 30 class, and Ash and his staff are looking to grow it even further. Here's a look at some of the most recent offers the staff has extended, including some out-of-state recruits, and a highly-touted 2018 prospect.
DE Marcus Valdez (Ramsey, NJ)
Valdez just received his Rutgers offer on Thursday, and already the Scarlet Knights are viewed as the favorite for him. He's only 6-1, 243, but has impressive speed and burst, and shows great power for his size. If the three-star recruit comes to Rutgers, he could evolve into a Quanzell Lambert-like player (Lambert is also 6-1), or even move to linebacker. The Don Bosco product also holds offers from Duke, Navy, Albany, Monmouth, Army, and several Ivy League programs.
CB Jaden Garrett (Plant City, FL)
Like Valdez, Garrett, a three-star recruit, also received an offer on Thursday. The corner from Durant High School has the looks of an underrated player who could burst onto the scene with a big senior year. Not only is he a stout cover man, but he also has great playmaking skills, highlighted by a keen ability to poke the ball away from a runner to force a turnover. Plus, Garrett has lightning speed, and could emerge as a lethal return man at the next level. Garrett has a total of nine offers, and Rutgers will have to fight off Arizona, Cincinnati, Bowling Green, UCF, and others.
I have received an offer from Rutgers University! pic.twitter.com/DMsAExiI6i— Jaden Garrett (@JadenInTheCut) May 12, 2016
DE Robert Porcher IV (Orlando, FL)
Porcher has been one of the most highly sought after recruits among Rutgers' most recent offers, as the three-star currently holds 32 offers. In fact, the three-star rating is rather surprising, as his tape shows his lethal pass-rushing ability. He makes opposing o-linemen look silly as he blows past them en route to the quarterback. He is a sure, powerful tackler who locks on to a target and makes him pay. Working in Rutgers' favor in their pursuit of Porcher is the fact he is the high school teammate of freshman linebacker Jonathan Pollock. Rutgers has their work cut out for them, as Porcher is currently fielding offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, USC, Louisville, and others.
ATH Connor Heyward (Suwanee, GA)
Heyward picked up an offer from Rutgers last Tuesday. The three-star athlete is a strong, reliable receiver who has solid speed and excellent ball skills. He's not afraid to battle a defensive back one-on-one for the ball, and his film shows some impressive over-the-shoulder catches. While he also holds offers from Arizona State, Iowa, and Louisville, Heyward is viewed as a heavy Ohio State lean, as the Buckeyes have pursued him heavily, not to mention he is the brother of Ohio State alum and Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward. Interestingly, as Rivals' Richie Schnyderite points out, the staff has now offered 13 players from the state of Georgia. Could they be looking to establish a recruiting base in the Peach State?
Blessed to pick up an offer from Rutgers #BigTen— Connor Heyward (@ConnorHeyward1) May 10, 2016
S Isheem Young (Philadelphia, PA)
The Scarlet Knights offered Young last Sunday, and are looking to get a bit of a head start in Young's recruitment, as he will just be entering his junior season this fall. However, the four-star safety from Philly is already receiving interest from some big-time programs, including Michigan, Florida State, Iowa, Michigan State, Penn State, Tennessee, and Alabama, who offered Young the day after Rutgers. The playmaker would be a huge get for Ash and Co., though there's no evidence to suggest we're anywhere near a decision. He's an exciting name to keep an eye on moving forward.
(He's just an incoming junior, so we'll let the "University of Rutgers" gaffe slide...this time.)
With the positive momentum Rutgers recruiting has enjoyed lately, do you think Ash could land any of these players in the near future? Sound off in the comments below!