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Charting Rutgers Football Recruiting: where we stand as 2017 opens

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The clock is ticking, the pages of the calendar are turning. Where is Rutgers situated as the NLI countdown continues?

When last we looked at recruiting rankings - and that was in August, pre-UDub drubbing - Rutgers was doing a decent job of putting together a pretty good 2017 class. Interestingly, two recent posts at OTB generated new conversations about the state of Rutgers’ 2017 class. The first one on tweeting to recruits brought out a lot of ideas and emotions on the subject. And there were a few questions about how good a job Chris Ash was doing, especially as compared to fellow first-year coach D.J. Durkin at Maryland.

And Maryland and Rutgers came in on even footing

This year was the first year Maryland had a better record. Not to much to ask for Ash to match their recruiting performance.

Posted by raritan17 on Jan 2, 2017

You mean with those top 2? What top 10 are you referring to? Given the talent Flood left us with and our 2-10 record, I’d say a top 30 class is more than good. Also, if we keep the classes around the top 30 or better, with a few gems in each class, we should see a solid talent improvement over the next few seasons.

Posted by HowRU on Jan 2, 2017

How about a bit of time to allow a reasonable comparison?

Neither Ash nor Durkin has even signed their first full class yet and you are declaring Ash and his recruiting a disaster. Let’s look at recent history to get a feel for where each team is coming from as per Rivals. I see Ash doing a good job, but right now Durkin is doing better in the first class. Looking back, our classes under Flood were not very competitive and behind Maryland. Take note of average ratings and you can see why Ash is starting behind Durkin rather than coming in at equal footing.

Posted by thevinman on Jan 2, 2017

The other post dealt with our hopes for 2017 and that included a few thoughts on the 2017 recruits. Our Mike Voza had these thoughts:

Mike Voza: My hope for 2017 is very simple but not easy. It will be realized very early in the year as National Signing Day is the first day of February. My hope is that the Football Recruiting Class finish in the top 25 overall in the country.

And they were echoed by Jim Hoffman:

Jim Hoffman: My greatest hope for 2017 is a football recruiting class that hangs together (so far, so good) followed by some continuity in program, which will lead to success.

And readers thought the same:

I want the 2017 football class to get off to a strong start. I want them to make a good enough impression to earn early playing time, and contribute to the success of the team.

@echonko

Posted by RU Serious on Jan 3, 2017

So where is Rutgers right now? Glad you asked.

This is not on individual players but is the team ranking. Chris Drabik does a great job with our recruiting stuff because that’s way too hard for me. Now, Rutgers nationally and in-conference.

National Rankings

When you go 2-10, it isn’t exactly a surprise that you might slip some in the rankings. The question I would have is, how much is this Rutgers falling and how much of it is other teams adding players and their stars?

Between the start of the season and today, Rutgers dropped around 5-6 spots nationally. All things considered, that isn’t all that bad. And it still puts Rutgers as a Top 40 class.

The five schools immediately behind RU in each service ranking?

Big Ten Rankings

Ash & Co. dropped a bit. Again, is that really a surprise? And, again, I would ask how much did Rutgers fall and how much did other programs simply do better. Or in the case of Maryland, have every kid they ever talked to verbally commit to them. (see below) Rutgers had a lot of commits early, and sheer volume and “body count” boosted the Knights.

And from the “figures never lie and liars never figure” file, we look at RU’s Big Ten position in two ways. Rutgers held fairly steady in all three services’ rankings. The biggest drop - by Rivals - was just two spots. Rutgers holds steady pretty much in the middle of the pack.

The other view is based on the national rank. On an average of the three rankings, Rutgers is the sixth best in the Big Ten, four “places” behind Michigan State and two ahead of Nebraska based on national ranking. The key with these is the number of commits, the category that gave Rutgers an early high ranking. Currently, the Knights have the third most commits behind Maryland and Michigan. From the table, it’s easy to see how Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin could move even or ahead of Rutgers with the signing of additional recruits.

BTN’s Gerry DiNardo

DiNardo does his updates weekly, and it gives still another perspective on the whole ranking process.

This is where some RU fans get a bit upset and nervous. The big guns - the four and five star kids - aren’t at Rutgers. But, as is often said, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. If Ash is getting the kind of kids he wants and the staff can coach’em up, it isn’t all bad.

And to restate how tough and how much of an uphill climb it is for Rutgers, look at where we play.

Then, again....