Ten years ago early enrollment in college football was a rarity, now it has become the norm. Most players early enroll because it allows them to get acclimated to the school, as well as the culture of the program, which oftentimes leads to early playing time. Additionally early enrollees help recruiting because they are on campus prior to National Signing Day and are able to host recruits. Here is Ash’s take on early enrollment:
"It's a creative way to manage your roster, but on the flip side of that, you're always paying with a credit card, too," new Rutgers coach and former Ohio State assistant Chris Ash said. "I don't think you necessarily go out and say, I'm only going to recruit guys that are going to be mid-year (enrollees) because that pool shrinks pretty fast."
We have already discussed our early enrollees Micah Clark and Jamaal Beaty here as well as Sam Vretman and Brendan Bordner here, so let’s take a look across the Big-Ten landscape at our conference mate’s early enrollees.
Every Big-Ten team has signed early enrollees with the exception of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Michigan leads the conference in early enrollees with eleven, followed by Ohio State with nine and Maryland with eight.
Ohio State’s early enrollees have an average star rating of 4.33, the highest in the conference, while Rutgers early enrollees have an average star rating of 3.25 ranked 7th in the conference.
Not surprisingly Ohio State’s early enrollees average national ranking is the highest in the conference at 63.22. Rutgers early enrollees ranks second to last in the conference at 615.33, besting the Michigan State Spartans who have an average national ranking of 624.
Ohio State also has the highest average position ranking at 6.22, second to Michigan with average position ranking of 19.73. Rutgers average position ranking for it’s early enrollees is 52, ranking 9th in the conference.
Shockingly Ohio State leads the conference with the best average state ranking of 4.22, followed by Michigan at 5.82. Rutgers average state ranking of 19.25 ranks third in the Big-Ten.
Takeaways from Rutgers Football Early Enrollees
We previously reviewed the early enrollees for Rutgers football here and here. Three of the four early enrollees are offensive lineman, while the fourth plays on the defensive line. While Rutgers certainly needs as many player makers they can get, it will also need to continue to improve the lines on both sides of the ball. Micah Clark, one of the four early enrollees and also Rutgers highest rated recruit currently, has the best chance of making an early impact given his size and athletic ability. Additionally, Clark’s athleticism has allowed him to play several different positions in high school. It was recently reported by NJ.com that Ash would prefer Clark to play on defense:
A 6-5, 270-pounder, Clark is certainly athletic enough to contribute from day one. The question is which position he will play, and is he physically prepared to play whatever position the staff settles on. Despite being an offensive tackle recruit, Clark has gone on record about Rutgers head coach Chris Ash's preference to play him on defense. And it makes sense as Clark projects to a number of positions including offensive tackle, guard, defensive three-technique, five technique, tight end and defensive end.
Check out Micah’s highlights below:
With the college recruiting landscape constantly in flux the number of early enrollees will likely continue to increase. I am excited about our four early enrollees for several reasons:
- They have already enrolled and are on campus meaning their college careers have officially started.
- Average star rating of 3.25.
- Since the early enrollees are already on campus, they have the ability to recruit and host recruits. Chris Ash has said on many occasions that he wants his players to be the programs best recruiters. These four will certainly help in that role as we head ever closer to National Signing Day.