Remember when “Fence the Garden” was a thing?
That Chris Ash mantra was bandied about a lot, snickered at a bit by others, mocked outright by certain people in khaki pants. Regardless, the point was that you need to bring in the talent that is in your backyard. Something Rutgers has not always done that well.
So, as we continue to revel in recruiting rankings, I decided to take a different tack in looking at where we are and what we’re doing....using the “royal we” in this case.
Here’s the question: how well does any school fence its own state? Granted, for some -- e.g. Alabama, Ohio State - it really doesn’t matter. They are “national” powers and can recruit/select from anywhere. But who in the Big Ten is doing it better...at least right now?
How about Maryland? Yes, they are successfully fencing the crab shack. And the extended crab shack, too.
Rankings update: Friday afternoon, Rutgers received a commitment from 3-star DB Avery Young. 247 Sports now has the class of 2018 listed at 48th in the country and 11th in the Big Ten, based on their composite rankings.
As of the last day of June (at around 10:30 am), Maryland has the highest percentage of commits from within its borders. Add in the four kids from the rest of the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) and that number jumps to almost 70% of its recruits.
And Chris Ash is doing okay, thank you, certainly no worse than others and better than most. Sure, we’d all like more, but bring in the best you can find. Because when you look at it, no one is really “fencing” their state. Ignore Ohio State for the reason I stated above, and maybe even PSU. But do look at Purdue and Indiana. Think people want to leave Jersey in a hurry? Don’t stand in their way at the Indiana border!
What was interesting to me was the relatively small number of New Jersey kids committing to Big Ten schools. Admittedly it is early, but with only seven (4%) of the 172 B1G commits from the Garden State, you start to wonder whether the 2018 class is slow to pull the trigger or a less talented class.
We also took a look at a few other schools that are near and/or dear to Rutgers. The results showed more New Jersey kids at these few schools than at Big Ten schools. Want to be concerned about fencing the garden? Look just a tad west across the Delaware River.
And if you’re looking for the Anthony Campanile factor, consider a few things. Campanile was on the Rutgers staff and recruited north Jersey. He had strong connections with the parochial school coaches up north (coached at Don Bosco, Nunzio Campanile is the head coach at Bergen Catholic). But was Rutgers getting these kids anyway? Consider the recent comment by reader RAS61 on Campanile no longer being on the Rutgers staff:
Not sure that would've helped
It seems many of the kids from private HS’s want to go to private colleges, and BC has always been high on that list. It’s a good school and a great town, just in the wrong conference – too geographically isolated and unconnected to the core of ACC schools.
I’m tired of chasing Jersey kids, if they want to leave, fine. I like that Ash is recruiting the entire country, that also has the benefit of not being obligated to take marginal Jersey kids. I think Schiano ran into that problem "fencing the garden", now RU doesn’t have to worry about alienating schools and HS coaches. When RU starts to win the Jersey kids will want to come….
"South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860
In support of his thought, of the 19 BC commits, 14 went to prep schools or parochial high schools. How many would be at Rutgers, with or without Campanile?
We’ll keep an eye on this as we move on.
Keep choppin’ We shall see.