Rutgers Head Football Coach Chris Ash and company, secured the services of two talented out of state lineman in the calendar year of 2016. The fruits of their labor are already hard at work with the early enrollment of three star offensive lineman Sam Vretman and three star defensive lineman Brendan Bordner. Fellow Class of 2017 early enrollees Micah Clark and Jamaal Beaty’s scouting report can be found here.
Samuel Vretman : 6 - 5 ½ 300 5.1 40 yd. OL Cheshire Academy, CT
Scout - # 5 State - # 85 OT
24 / 7 - # 6 State - # 76 OT
Rivals - # 3 State - # 36 OT
ESPN - # 8 State - # 72 OT
Consensus 3 Star Offensive Lineman Recruit
Offers from UConn, Temple, Colorado State, Coastal Carolina, Old Dominion
My first impression of Vretman was not only very positive, it was very optimistic for the big offensive tackle from the high school boarding student in Connecticut, via Sweden. Sam was originally a hockey player in his home land before crossing over the Atlantic Ocean to the Constitution State. If nothing else, leaving high school early and moving onto one of the largest campuses in the country will hardly phase this Nordic Iceman turned East Coast Road Grader.
Vretman has the frame of a throw back Big Ten offensive lineman, standing nearly six and a half feet tall and carrying nearly three spins on the scale. He is cut from the same mold of former Major Eastern Independent Lineman; Bill Milano, Dave Szott and J.D. Maarleved. Sam made a great decision when he committed to Rutgers with their terrific offensive line coach A.J. Blazek. Coach Blazek played O-Line for perhaps the best offensive line tactician there is, in current Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz.
There is a lot to like about the consensus three star lineman but I do not agree with all of the reports and projections that I have seen. I see a straight ahead, inline drive blocker capable of developing into a very proficient run blocker in a power run game scheme. Vretman displays a powerful first step going forward that will allow him to handle assignments in most run game blocking techniques and schemes. He has limited mobility and average agility that are required in zone and combo blocking schemes. His hips are still a little stiff, especially for someone who grew up on a hockey rink. Sam currently shows limited kick slide ability that will almost certainly rule out left tackle in Jerry Kill’s shotgun offense. Coach Blazek is certainly the man needed to fine tune and develop Vretman’s overall line play. Sam is in good hands and Coach Blazek has a tremendous mold in which to sculpt.
Vretman’s lofty state ranking contradicts his scholarship options, his overall recruitment is a mixed bag. The state of Connecticut typically does not churn out numerous prospects but the top kids usually have blue chip status. This year for example, four of the top high school commits there are currently headed to the University of Michigan. With the coaching change on the campus in Storrs, the talented Swede very easily could have ended up in the Sun Belt Conference if Ash and Blazek were not so high on him. The measurables and potential is there for the coaching staff to develop into a productive Knight “On the Banks”.
Brendan Bordner : 6 - 5 240 4.7 40yd. DL Bradley High, Hilliard OH
Scout - # NR State - # 61 DE
24 / 7 - # 47 State - # 37 DE
Rivals - # 35 State - # 36 DE
ESPN - # 44 State - # 93 DE
Consensus 3 Star Defensive Lineman Recruit
Offers from Rutgers, West Virginia, Boston College, Iowa State, Kentucky, Syracuse, Illinois and approximately 25 Mid Majors.
Brendan Bordner hails from Ohio, a state rich in high school football prospects. The largest public schools in the Buckeye State can play with any high school football team in the country. Hilliard Bradley High is classified in the largest group labeled Division 1.
The national recruiting websites are all over the map in their scouting of Bordner. As a parent, I would be tickled pink if one of my children had over thirty scholarship offers. As an analyst for SB Nation’s On The Banks, from the “Fence the Garden” State, I needed to dig a little deeper.
Historically, Bradley HS does not qualify for the state playoffs and their top alumni play non-scholarship college football. They do currently have two former players out in Colorado Springs playing for the Air Force Academy.
When I turn on the game film of Hilliard Bradley High in Ohio, I do not see quite the dominant defensive play a blue chip high school recruit should be showing. The production does not equal Bordner’s measurables. You can see some tackles for a loss but they come on blown assignments, missed blocks and over matched opponents. The size, speed, agility and strength are all there on the high school gridiron but I do not see the football dominance needed to win Big Ten games. If I am wrong, and I hope I am, the Big Ten teams with winning conference records are agreeing with me and did not offer him a scholarship.
Bordner is currently enrolled at Rutgers, taking classes, lifting weights with the Knights and Coach Parker, all of which will give him a huge advantage over the reinforcements who will be arriving this summer. He has the frame at 6-5 240 and the athleticism with legit 4.7 speed to become a very disruptive defender, lining up with his hand on the ground, along the entire defensive line of scrimmage. His skill set translates to being versatile enough to play all positions on the D-Line. I see his strongest spot as a 5 technique, weak side D-End where he can utilize his quick take off and above average foot speed. I’m sure the old defensive coordinator in Coach Ash sees enough potential in him to fill the RU practice bubble and Ash knows how to coach up a talented football player like Brendan.
There is an awful lot to like from this Midwest defender. The fact that the service academies recruited him heavily speaks volumes about his toughness, character and football savvy. He also was recruited by the majority of the Ivy League and qualified to graduate high school early, so you know he has the intelligence and academic foundation to be a highly cerebral player and coach like in the huddle. Now defensive line coach Shane Burnham and coordinator Jay Niemann need to turn what they saw in shorts and a tee shirt on the summer camp circuit into a Scarlet Knight defender with the production of a Raheem Orr, Rashod Swinger or Alex Silvestro.