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30 Reasons for 30 Days: Day 27 - NJ Recruits and Rick Mantz

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From now through September 3rd, I am posting a daily reason why it is great to be a fan of Rutgers football. There are a lot more than thirty, but I picked my thirty reasons, and hope you like them. If not, be sure to let me know.

Until this year, it has been a few years since the fans were excited about the recruits, and that has been a shame. New Jersey is a traditional hotbed of football recruiting, but for too many years until about a decade ago, those recruits went elsewhere. Since the 2006 season, however, things have improved. Just as an example, here are the Rutgers team rankings for the last 12+ years:

There is a correlation (it isn’t always instantaneous, but it demonstrates a trend) between how the team did the previous year and the success the coaching staff had on the recruiting trail. However, to this point, the new staff under Head Coach Chris Ash has had a fairly spectacular year. Currently there are 20 recruits, and the Scarlet Knights are ranked #20 by Rivals, and #24 by Scout and 247 Sports, despite a rather dismal success rate the previous year both on the gridiron as well as in recruiting.

Part of the success is due to the way in which Ash’s coaches go about the job, part of it is based upon the new philosophy and manner of running the program, and part is due to the realization of the importance of reaching out to the HS coaches and hearing their thoughts. Enter Rick Mantz.

Rick was hired early in January, about a month after Ash himself began at the school. He received a new title, Director of High School Relations. It was a subtle but critical change in direction, as Coach Mantz’s role is to not only focus on the players, but the HS coaches as well. He also had success as a HS coach at several high schools, and along the way coached Rutgers and NFL stars Shawn O’Hara and Mohammed Sanu.

Every Rutgers fan should be happy to know that the recent success on the recruiting trail, and the success in the staffs’ stated goal to “fence the Garden” (State), stronger and more successes are coming to Piscataway.

Coach Mantz also knows how to sell the program, as he was once a recipient of these sales pitches. He knows the importance of respect, competence, and drive.

These events are certainly great things for the fans, and is yet another reason why it is great to be a Rutgers football fan!