After a very slow start in building the 2018 recruiting class, Rutgers football had a scorching hot month of June. Of the twelve current verbal commitments received so far, eleven of the recruits are rated as 3-star prospects. Rutgers is now ranked 48th in the country in the 247 composite rankings for the 2018 class, as of July 10th. For a program coming off a 2-10 campaign, it’s hard to be unhappy with those results as the dog days of summer approach. Obviously more progress is needed in order to close a solid class. The encouraging part is that now that camp season is over and the dead period is underway, Rutgers continues to be in the mix for several intriguing national recruits.
While the debate, i.e. complaints, about the lack of success in recruiting New Jersey with the current class, including parochial kids, there is actually plenty of interest in Rutgers from recruits all over the country. At the end of the day, the biggest task for head coach Chris Ash and the staff is to add talent and depth to the roster. In the early stages of rebuilding the program, it really doesn’t matter where they find players, as long as they can help make Rutgers better.
Quarterback commit Jalen Chatman, who is from California, recently visited campus, bringing friends Jermar Jefferson and Romeo Doubs with him. Jefferson is a 3-star running back and Doubs is a 3-star wide receiver. Both recruits from the Golden State received offers from the program on their visit and would be solid additions.
In the past week, five recruits from five different states listed Rutgers among their final list of schools that they are considering. All five prospects are rated as 3-star recruits. This is certainly a promising development and a sign that Ash’s vision for the program is resonating with recruits. Perhaps, even better so, than with local recruits at the moment. That’s not surprising and something head coach Steve Pikiell has also adjusted to in recruiting for the men’s basketball program. Credit both staffs for going after talent, wherever it may reside, in order to rebuild their programs.
Let’s look at the five out of state football recruits who recently listed Rutgers among their final schools that they are considering.
Waller is a 3-star cornerback from Maryland who is 6’2” and rated 76th in country at his position, as well as 18th in the Mid-Atlantic state. It’s good to see Rutgers in the mix for a player that is also considering multiple ACC schools. Rutgers offered Waller back in February, so they’ve been on him for awhile. Comparatively, Virginia Tech just offered last month, although Todderick Hunt of NJ Advance Media mentioned that the Hokies appear to be the leader for Waller. He is looking to decide by the end of this month and would be a great addition to the program. Even though there are several defensive backs already committed to this class, Hunt stated Rutgers and Virginia continue to recruit Waller the hardest.
My top 6❗️ all glory to god pic.twitter.com/CqSWh0dPqO— Madison Norris (@Madisonnorris98) July 8, 2017
Norris is a 3-star weak-side defensive end from Indiana, where is he rated 46th at his position nationally and the 11th prospect in his class in the state. Big Ten East rival Indiana appears to be the heavy favorite to land Norris, but Rutgers remains in the mix, while Big Ten West foe Minnesota is not despite offering him. Rutgers needs help on the defensive line in a big way and he would have the opportunity to play early on in his career. The 6’5” Norris will need to bulk up for the next level, as he is listed at just 200 pounds.
God has blessed me to play this game of football these are my TOP6️⃣ schools‼️ pic.twitter.com/9hGIHQKTSV— Drew Tuazama™ (@hoop_state15) July 8, 2017
In March, Rutgers offered the 6’6” 3-star tight end who is ranked the #25th best prospect in North Carolina. Florida State ended up offering Tuazama in late April and are now considered the favorite. He has an impressive offer list that includes Ole Miss and Miami, which makes it surprising local schools like North Carolina and N.C. State never offered. He is a versatile prospect who also played on the defensive line in high school. I don’t think Rutgers has a great shot for Tuazama, but him including them in his final list is a testament to the staff in how they are battling on the recruiting trail.
Anderson is a 3-star athlete from Staten Island who is ranked the 7th best player in New York state. Rutgers already has other Empire state players like the 4th ranked recruit, Zihir Lacewell, and the 14th ranked recruit, Kessawn Abraham, committed to the 2018 class. While Anderson has Big Ten West foe Wisconsin included in his final six, indications are the race for his services will come down to Rutgers and Maryland. A bunch of power five schools showed interest in Anderson and he had offers from Boston College and Syracuse, among others. He could play either as a receiver or in the defensive backfield at the next level. Landing Anderson would be a big win for Rutgers and he is a player they’ve targeted for a long time. Of any of the five discussed, Anderson is the recruit they need the most from a perception standpoint.
Fulwider is a 3-star defensive end from Georgia who recently visited Arkansas, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, and Duke. The 6’7” lineman holds over two dozen power five offers and being that he is from the south, it’s both surprising and impressive that Rutgers made his final six. No word on when he will make his decision, nor whether he plans to visit Piscataway this summer. He would no doubt be a major pickup for the program, if they did sway him to play college ball up north.
It’s obviously imperative for Rutgers to show signs of improvement on the field in 2017. The reality is the poor season in Ash’ debut certainly put the program at a major disadvantage in recruiting the class of 2018. There is a lot of work still to be done and Rutgers needs to land more quality players before national signing day, which is now less than seven months away. Still, if Ash and the staff can continue to add 3-star recruits with the right attitude to the 2018 class, it will be a huge lift for the program. If Rutgers can take advantage of two winnable crossover games against the Big Ten West, things could really get interesting come late October. Even steady progress by increasing the win total and being more competitive against the conference elite will go a long way in showing things are changing for the better. In mid-July, fans should be pleased that quality recruits across the country are starting to seriously consider Rutgers as an option. That’s progress, especially after a 2-10 season.