Wednesday was National Hot Dog Day (the third Wednesday of July) and at least one of the players in this week’s poll surely surely qualifies. After a series of polls that brought out the nostalgia in us, this week’s poll is meant to bring out excitement. Chris Ash has done his best to temper expectations for freshman quarterback Art Sitkowski, but as social media and recruiting services continue to evolve that is more difficult than ever before. Everyone who supports the Scarlet Knights hopes the scoreboard is a little brighter than in recent years. Can anyone get the Rutgers reference here?
Art isn’t the only member of the current team who came in with high expectations, but how do they compare with some other of the most balleyhooed incoming players in Rutgers Football history?
Malik Jackson. For many of our readers, Jackson symbolizes the Doug Graber area more than any other player, even Terrell Willis. Malik was described as flashy, and one of the big time New Jersey recruits that brought hope to a program just trying to make noise in the Big East. The oversized safety would be a linebacker in today’s pass happy era and likely even in higher demand.
Mike McMahon. Terry Shea brought hope that a West Coast passing attack would help jell the talent Graber accumulated on the banks. The key to Shea’s plan was a star quarterback from California named McMahon who was not a runner, but very mobile and accurate. By midway through his freshman season, McMahon took the reins as the starter.
Raheem Orr. Orr gets the nod over two other New Jersey products, Ryan Neill and Manny Abreu. Orr was supposed to arrive on the banks with Shane Smith and wreak absolute havoc on a level between what Khaseem Greene and Kemoko Turay eventually did. It took some starts and stops but Orr eventually flashed the disruptive ability on the field.
Nate Robinson. No not krypto-nate, this Irvington star gets the nomination from a deep pool of transfers, several of which made a stop in Miami like Kiy Hester, Jerome Washington, Gus Edwards, and my personal choice Bryan Fortay. After some snafus in the sunshine state, the nation’s number one defensive line prospect arrived home on the banks. This was the equivalent of if Rashan Gary came to Rutgers after a cup of coffee at Michigan. He’s the top rated prospect in Rutgers history per the history of the 247 composite rankings.
Anthony Davis was arguably the number one prospect in New Jersey and expected to start day one just a few miles away from his Piscataway High School. He was as good as advertised as his physical ability was enough to overpower opponents as he joined a team trying to avoid a 2006 hangover.
Tom Savage was a consensus top 10 high school quarterback prospect. The heir apparent to Mike Teel did not enroll early, but he came as close as you could. Savage would drive up from Pennsylvania every day to watch spring practice. After being inserted into the lineup as a true freshman, he was even more impressive than McMahon.
Savon Huggins was considered by everyone to be the number one prospect out of New Jersey so he gets an entry on this list over a host of other speedy runners like Kordell Young, Ravon Anderson, and De’Antwan Williams. Huggins came into a program ready to win and saw time as a true freshman where he made a few plays.
Darius Hamilton was the number one recruit in New Jersey who may have been aided by Huggins’s struggles in the same situation the year prior. But when you are a big human and the son of former New York Giant Keith Hamilton, it’s impossible to keep the hype under control. It was enough to keep a recruiting class together that kept us from unwatchable football for a few years anyway. Darius contributed as an undersized true freshman, doing nothing to reduce expectations.
Micah Clark and Bo Melton. Clark was the player Chris Ash had to get in his first full recruiting class as possibly the number one player in New Jersey. He enrolled early but did not make an Anthony Davis-like impact as a freshman (who can?). Like Mason Robinson before him, Melton was a state champion in the 100 meters and a product of two former Rutgers athletes. Oddly, his hype seems to have taken a life of it’s own after teaming up with the final entrant in this poll.
Art Sitkowski. Seemingly every positive story about Rutgers Football this off-season revolves around a local quarterback who went down to Florida, sense a theme? After splitting snaps as a high school senior, fans took a chill pill until the spring game when the coaching staff opened up the offense in a way completely unusual for the circumstances. The energy around him is massive which is much needed for a program that needs all it can get, especially to lure future recruits.
Go vote and leave us thoughts in the comments section because this topic is one that is completely subjective so it should be interesting. Who was the most hyped player you recall before he strapped on the pads and a Knights helmet? Perhaps would get this much excitement from Sandra Bullock ...
Who was the most hyped prospect in Rutgers Football history?
This poll is closed
Malik Jackson. The hot dog himself.
Mike McMahon. Sunshine Ronnie Bass for real.
Raheem Orr, a physical freak.
Nate Robinson. Top 10 player in the nation at RU!
Anthony Davis. Just look at him.
Tom Savage. Expecting Tom Brady.
Savon Huggins. JJ Jennings 2.0.
Darius Hamilton. Enough to keep an entire recruiting class together.
Micah Clark / Bo Melton. Just wait ...
Art Sitkowski. Heisman or bust!