When the Rutgers athletic department officially switched over to Adidas from Nike on July 1st, there was a strategic social media campaign to celebrate the move. The slogan adopted has been “Three Stripe Knights”, which is catchy way to say Rutgers and Adidas are now a thing. While what the new uniforms will look like for most sports has yet to be announced, there have been some sneak peaks shown on social media through various people.
Rutgers football assistant head coach and offensive line coach A.J. Blazek tweeted out this new hat back in early June:
That was our first clue that perhaps Adidas was working with Rutgers to improve the association of the school as the state university of New Jersey. Now, we know that was just the beginning.
Senior offensive lineman Dorian Miller posted a picture on his instagram account yesterday in the new home football jersey. You can see below that the outline of New Jersey is prominently shown above the players names. Miller wrote a passionate message explaining how much representing his home state means to him.
Was a little skeptical about the move to Adidas at first but so far it feels like we made the right move at the right time. This outline of New Jersey is my favorite addition to the new uni's. From day one all I ever wanted to do was represent this state and university the best I could, and putting the state on our backs just adds an extra sense of pride and responsibility. Really can't wait to put the pads on with these new uniforms. S/O @ch_designxr behind the lens!
The Metuchen, New Jersey native and starting left guard should form a powerful duo with starting left tackle Tariq Cole, who is primed to be a star, on one side of the Rutgers offensive line this season. Miller could become a captain this fall, but even if he doesn’t, it’s great to know how he feels about his home state and the message he is surely imparting on the underclassmen. This is the type of example that hopefully resonates with high school recruits across New Jersey! This is what leaders do!
Through thick and thin I'll always rep Jersey pic.twitter.com/MZA1fn9EUF— ɖorian ɱiller (@Dorian_Miller) July 8, 2017
As for Rutgers football promoting New Jersey, these are the helmets they wore in the 80’s back when I first became a fan as a kid growing up in the garden state.
That’s what you call old school, my friends. I don’t recall other uniform incarnations that made a New Jersey reference. There may be older ones, so if you happen to remember one, let me know In the comment section.
For all the talk about recruiting and keeping New Jersey kids home to play at Rutgers, having the state outline on the back of the uniform is a great idea. It’s more than just about recruiting though. It should give Rutgers alums who are New Jersey residents a great sense of pride. The players on the roster will feel it too.
For far too long in my opinion, Rutgers needed to better bridge that connection to New Jersey on the stage that is college athletics. As a state university, the recognition in being that entity is harder to show across the country, as New Jersey isn’t our name. Now, whenever Rutgers plays football against the Big Ten, they will see that connection on the back of the uniform. To that I say, well done.
Credit head coach Chris Ash, a long time midwestern native, for playing a part in making this change happen. I’m sure athletic director Pat Hobbs and others did as well. Hopefully we will see more of this with other teams at Rutgers moving forward.
Only 55 days until the home opener for Rutgers football! RU rah rah!