As of last week, Rutgers was the only Big Ten program still seeking it’s first commitment within the class of 2018. Thankfully, the Rutgers recruiting board no longer shows a goose egg, as defensive back Rachad Wildgoose Jr. pledged his commitment after visiting this past weekend.
Proud to announce RESPECT MY DECISION pic.twitter.com/UKx0M4VTdH— Rachad Wildgoose Jr. (@Clamps_era) April 16, 2017
Rutgers offered the Miami, Florida native back in February and he wasted little time in making a decision to join the program. After playing his junior season for Coral Gables, Rachad transferred this past January to longtime Miami powerhouse Northwestern. If that high school rings a bell, it’s because former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano recruited three players from Northwestern, most notably, wide receiver Tim Brown, who had 2,257 receiving yards and caught 20 touchdowns in his Rutgers career. Dondre Asberry and Clarence Pittman were the other two players that came to the banks from Northwestern under Schiano.
The only recruiting service to rate Wildgoose Jr. is 247 Sports, who list a 2-star rating for the 5’11” defensive back. He has only received an offer from Rutgers so far, but Florida Atlantic, Kentucky, Maryland, and Oregon State have shown interest, according to 247 Sports. Rachad told Todderick Hunt of NJ Advance Media that Texas A&M and N.C. State also contact him on a regular basis, in addition to the other schools just mentioned. He also told Hunt that the possibility of visiting some of those programs remains, but that is typical in football recruiting these days.
According to Hudl, Rachad produced 2 interceptions, 7 pass break ups, and 50 tackles in his junior season. From his highlight film, Wildgoose Jr. demonstrates his nose for the ball and flashes the ability to tackle in the open field. He looks to be an aggressive, but fundamentally sound tackler. The hard tackling Wildgoose is physical and looks comfortable in press coverage. He also will bring speed with him on the banks, as he also runs track and told Hunt in this article that his best 200 meter time is “22 seconds flat”. View his film here:
One interesting connection for Wildgoose Jr. is that his cousin, Craig Brown, played basketball at Rutgers in former head coach Eddie Jordan’s first season. Brown averaged 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in his lone season at Rutgers, before transferring to Kent State.
As for the football programs ties with the state of Florida, there are currently seven players on the active roster from the Sunshine state. They include Janarion Grant, Josh Hicks, Jawuan Harris, Isaiah Wharton, Rashad Blunt, Brandon Russell, and Trey Sneed. Another Florida native connected to the program is Jarius Adams, who suffered a career ending injury that was announced at the beginning of spring practice. Florida is ranked fourth in the number of players on the current Rutgers roster, behind and in order, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Our own Andy Egan debated whether Rutgers should continue recruiting the state of Florida soon after Ash was hired as head coach. Andy highlighted how the success rate of recruits from Florida had been boom or bust in recent years for Rutgers. Ash recruited two Floridians in his first class in 2016. Trey Sneed is still working his way up the depth chart at running back, while linebacker Jon Pollock transferred to FCS school Youngstown State before ever playing a down in scarlet.
In my opinion, Rutgers continuing to recruit in Florida is a positive. It is such a talent rich state, which provides more opportunity to find players who fly under the radar of the top recruits targeted by in-state schools like Miami, Florida State, and Florida. However, it doesn’t make sense to prioritize and invest into the state as much as Schiano did early on his in own tenure, which was more born out of his own connections in Florida and out of necessity in building up the program from virtually nothing. That being said, if the current staff under Ash can be savvy in recruiting Florida, it can only help to upgrade the talent level within the program. Rachad Wildgoose Jr. could certainly fall into this category. Let’s hope he does.
Welcome to the banks, Rachad!