The brand-new early signing period is upon us, and we have a slew of new recruits who have committed in writing to officially become Scarlet Knights. But, where are they from? Long before the arrival of Head Coach Chris Ash, the conversation has been about keeping New Jersey recruits home to play for the state school. There have been varying degrees of success over the years. While you never will have every top recruit stay home, how well did the coaching staff “Fence the Garden” with the 2018 class? Or, even more importantly, is it something that should be a concern?
First, of the 23 recruits that have verbally committed to Rutgers in this cycle, Ash currently have signed commitments from 18 of them. Let’s take a look at them.
Of the 18 that signed, six of them are NJ natives. However, the “Garden” is larger than just the geographic boundary of the state. As Greg Schiano described his earlier version of the same concept when he created what he called “The State of Rutgers,” it also includes a ring of area immediately surrounding the state, which includes Philadelphia, New York City and the suburbs of both. Including those areas includes an additional seven recruits. Now we are talking about 13 of the 18 recruits coming from either New Jersey or the immediate vicinity. Who are they?
New Jersey Natives
Artur Sitkowski - Quarterback. Artur is a recent flip from the University of Miami, which surprised a lot of people, particularly those who are Hurricane fans. The 6’5”, 215 pound pro-style player is an Old Bridge native, and played for them until his senior year, when he transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. Artur submitted his signed commitment to the school first thing this morning.
Daevon Robinson - Athlete. Daevon is the most recent commit to Rutgers, making his verbal commitment just this past Monday. Daevon was originally committed to North Carolina State, and decommitted in November. Daevon is from Medford, and played for Shawnee HS, and as of this morning is officially a Scarlet Knight.
Isaih Pacheco - Running Back. Isaih is a Vineland native, and the 5’11, 190 commit originally put his verbal commitment out to the public in late June. He has been an active voice in social media supporting the team, and has been at games this season as well. He will be at all games in the future, as he officially submitted his letter this morning.
Jarrett Paul - Cornerback. The Paramus native was a mainstay on the Paramus Catholic squad this year. Jarrett committed last April, and the 6’1”, 197 pound player has been a stable member of this year’s class. He completed his commitment by signing on today.
Deion Jennings - Cornerback. Deion is a 6’1”, 195 pound native of Sicklerville who played at Timber Creek HS. While Deion committed in late June, he did not take his official visit to Rutgers until this month. Deion signed and submitted his commitment papers this morning.
Eddie Lewis - Wide Receiver. Eddie is the outlier of the NJ residents. Eddie actually committed and signed on February 1, but due to academic reasons, took an additional prep school year. That has had its desired effect, and the 6’ 179 pound native of Middletown is planning to enroll for the 2018 season.
Jalen Jordan - Wide Receiver. Although the 6’5”, 210 pound receiver currently attends IMG Academy in Bradenton, he is a Philadelphia native. Jalen is probably joining Rutgers with some encouragement from his classmate and teammate at IMG, Artur Sitkowski. He was choosing between the Scarlet Knights, Georgia, and West Virginia, but signed with Rutgers today.
Zahir Lacewell - Wide Receiver. The 6’3”, 190 pound native of Staten Island played for Tottenville HS, and committed to Rutgers in mid-June. Zahir submitted his written commitment this morning.
Matthew Thomas - Defensive End. Matthew is a Brooklyn native who played for Midwood HS. The 6’3”, 237 pound NY product has been a solid Rutgers recruit since late August. He demonstrated that further by officially signing on this morning.
Kessawn Abraham - Athlete. Another Brooklyn native, Kessawn is a 5’10”, 170 pound player who has played on both sides of the ball while playing for Erasmus Hall HS. Kessawn committed on June 22, and made it official today.
Avery Young - Cornerback. Young played his high school football at Coatesville (PA) Area HS, a outer suburb of Philadelphia. The 6’1”, 195 pound player committed in late June to the Scarlet Knights, and made official this morning.
Matt Rosso - Offensive Tackle. Matt is a native of Fairless Hills, PA and played at Pennsbury HS. The 6’6”, 230 pound tackle committed the same week as Avery Young above, and with his signing this morning is now officially a Scarlet Knight.
Christian Izien - Athlete. This 5’10”, 180 pound Brooklyn native was a classmate of Kessawn Abraham at Erasmus Hall HS. Christian committed in mid-October to the Scarlet Knights, and signed on officially today.
Those 13 players are either NJ natives or live in close proximity to New Jersey. Just to look at the past few years, the number of player either living in or close to NJ are:
2018- 13; 2017- 18; 2016- 10; 2015- 13; 2014- 12; 2013- 19; 2012- 15
Of course, that number can grow by February during the next signing period for the 2018 class. There really does not seem to be any trend in either direction regarding the number of local recruits. However, the location of the recruit does not make him any better or worse. As the quality of play in a major conference improves, it will make staying home to play more attractive.
The final few recruits to come into the program for 2018 that hail from far from the NJ region are:
Raiqwon O’Neal- Offensive Tackle. This bruising 6’5”, 270 pound native of Conway, South Carolina played for his local high school, Conway HS. Raiqwon committed to Rutgers in late August, and signed earlier today.
Jalen Chatman- Quarterback. This Harbor City, CA native played at Narbonne HS. The 6’, 180 pound commit gave his verbal assurance to play at Rutgers on May 15, and signed on the dotted line this morning.
Paul Woods- Wide Receiver. Paul comes to Rutgers as the #12 commit for the state of New York. The Buffalo native measures up at 6’1”, and 165 pounds, and played for Canisius High School. Paul also signed on today, and is officially a Scarlet Knight.
Adam Korsak- Punter. Our recruit with the longest distance to home (by a wide margin), Adam is a native of Australia, and is a graduate of ProKick Academy there. Adam committed to Rutgers in early July, and signed on in writing early this morning.
Jamree Kromah- Defensive End. Jamree was our surprise today, commiting and signing all on the same day. He is a 6’4”, 230 pound native of Springdale, MD, who played for Flowers HS.
Well, there they are, our signed Class of 2018. Who’s left? We still have five players who are verbal commits but are not ready to put it in writing.
Zamir Mickens- Safety. Mickens has been a solid commit to Rutgers, but as he stated earlier, he did not sign early. The 5’11”, 175 pound defensive player is a Jersey City native who played at St. Peter’s Prep.
Kaymar Mimes- Defensive end. Another recent verbal commit, Kaymar gave his verbal commitment to Rutgers this past Monday as well. The 6’5”, 225 pound defensive end had been heavily recruited by several schools, but the final choice was between Rutgers and Temple. Due to interest from other schools as soon as he committed to Rutgers, Kaymar is now a “soft commit” for the Scarlet Knights, and will not sign today.
Jayden McDonald- Linebacker. Jayden gave his commitment verbally to Rutgers in June. He is a 6’2”, 201 pound native of Suwanee, GA and played his high school ball at North Gwinnett HS. There is some thought that he is getting second looks after his huge senior season by southern schools.
Reginald Sutton- Offensive Tackle. A 6’4”, 278 pound recruit, he is a native of Towson, MD, and played at Cavert Hall College HS. Sutton verbally committed to Rutgers in late June.
Travon King- Defensive End, Tight End. Travon is at this time considered a “soft commit,” which means while he is leaning toward Rutgers, he is somewhat in the mix at Tulane as well. Time will tell...
While the five above have not yet signed on the dotted line yet, we will see what changes will take place between now and February. Three are from New Jersey, so the number of local talent in the 2018 class could grow.
Let us know if you think this new early signing period is a good idea, a bad idea, or one that needs to be tweaked. On the Banks will keep you informed as that discussion moves forward as well. Happy Signing Day, Class of 2018!
Do you like the new early signing period?
This poll is closed
Yes, having two signing periods is better.
I like this, but this signing period should take the place of the one in early February.
No, the NCAA should have left it alone. We only need one signing period in February.