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Rutgers Football Recruiting: Getting the parochial kids

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Is Ash not getting it done, or is he really no different than another Rutgers coach?

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes we get some good ideas from our readers. Like this comment leading to this post:

Schiano and Co

Didn’t have a hard time landing recruits from NJ’s parochial HSs like the way Ash (after firing Ant Camp) is struggling to get those kids. I’m just stating an observation; it’s up to the reader to decide the cause and effect.

Posted by beowulf7 on Jun 30, 2017

And then a response from our esteemed Managing Editor:

Not a fair comparison

This is Ash’s second year. It took Schiano years to build the NJ pipeline up to what I think you are remembering. And he still never dominated the parochials during his tenure versus the powerhouse programs. Everyone needs to give Ash time. They went 2-10 last season and yet the class has 11 3-star commits out of 12. Not too shabby.

Posted by Aaron Breitman on Jun 30, 2017

Now, time tends to distort our views and our thinking, and there are those around these parts who still wax nostalgic for the halcyon days of Greg Schiano. St. Greg. The savior. The guy who went 68-67 in 11 years.

And, yes, that was my full disclosure on Greg Schiano.

Let me start by asking two questions: 1) beowulf, what recruits did Schiano land? 2) Aaron, what pipeline?

Greg Schiano coached here for 11 seasons and had, depending on your prespective, 11 or 12 recruiting classes (count 2012 when he left just before NLI Day and it’s 12). In that time he recruited either 22 or 25 athletes from New Jersey parochial high schools. That’s about two per year. And they weren’t all from the north Jersey powerhouses.

During Schiano’s tenure, he had two “loaded” years (in numbers) in terms of recruiting the parochial schools in New Jersey. The first, 2004 with six players, came after a 1-11 season. That class brought in Mike Teel and Ron Girault. But in 2004, some of the most important recruits may not have even been from the parochial schools: Jeremy Zuttah, Jeremy Ito, and Cam Stephenson were in that group, too.

The other big year was 2011 after a 9-4 year. He pulled in another six parochial athletes, including Keith Lumpkin and Gary Nova. It also included Anthony DiPaula, Marquise Wright, Paul Canevari, and Savon Huggins.

What surprised me - although in some ways it was so typically Rutgers not to capitalize on success - was after the 11-2 season in 2006. Rutgers had the 35th best class after that great finish, but dropped to the 51st best recruiting class in ‘08, And in both years only one parochial player committed to RU. In 2007, after that stirring ‘06 season, the player was Al-Ghaffaar Lane from Paterson Catholic and, no, I don’t remember him either. In 2008 the one parochial player was Patrick Kivlehan out of St. Joe’s Montvale. And his best sport turned out to be baseball.

But in Schiano’s best and worse years recruiting the parochial powerhouses, how did anyone do in New Jersey? We couldn’t do every school, but we did a sampling of a few that stand out.

In the two years that Schiano pulled in no parochial kids, only Boston College had any commits from the Jersey Catholic schools. In fact, BC was the only school to consistently pull in those kids, or Jersey kids in general. During those years, the three Big Ten schools had none, and only Penn State had any New Jersey commits. Even Notre Dame only had a handful of Jersey kids; of course, in 2002 they happened to get Anthony Fasano and Chris Olsen.

The point? To criticize Chris Ash for not getting a lot of parochial school kids in his first two years - especially in comparison to Schiano - is more than a bit unfair. Schiano didn’t get a significant numbers until his fourth recruiting class. He was given time; Ash should as well.

Related prior post: Fencing the state....any state