Rutgers football recruiting has stressed the importance of keeping New Jersey talent in-state, but often the Scarlet Knights miss the mark for three, four and five-star Garden State prospects.
Recently, the addition of former N.J. high school stars Johnny Langan, Drew Singleton and Matt Alaimo has been a positive mark for the Scarlet Knights. Langan, a talented quarterback, was a star at Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.), and transferred from Boston College. Singleton was a four-star linebacker at Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.), and will be taking his talents back home after a stint at the University of Michigan. Matt Alaimo was a highly sought after tight end at St. Joe’s (Montvale, N.J.), and transferred from UCLA after redshirting for a year.
All three players join the program a few months after linebacker Nihym Anderson left Maryland and joined Rutgers in late August before the 2018 season began. He played with Isaih Pacheco at Vineland high school and was a top 30 prospect in New Jersey in the class of 2018. He played in four games last season on special teams and could end up being classified as a redshirt, giving him four years of eligibility remaining. The others have multiple years of eligibility as well, making these additions more valuable than graduate transfers.
Do new lax NCAA transfer rules help Rutgers? What will Raheem Blackshear's 2019 role look like? Mailbag https://t.co/fbuWQR9GFt pic.twitter.com/gHQj8ROWzv— Rutgers Football (@NJ_RutgersFB) January 16, 2019
For Chris Ash, these players are all huge additions to a team that was a cellar dweller in the Big Ten last year. The possibility that some of the transfer players may be granted immediate eligibility, like Anderson, makes it even sweeter for a team that needs to address a quite a few areas of concern.
Yes, it would have been more ideal if Rutgers initially landed the players during their recruiting process, but you can’t say that the Scarlet Knights aren’t trying to recruit in-state top talent when you see them get top names from the transfer portal.
From the initial recruiting phase, it’s easy to see how top talented players get persuaded to take their talents elsewhere. Whether it’s the promise of winning conference titles, major bowl games, or even national championships, it’s hard for Rutgers to compete with those recruiting pitches (it’s also hard to win those accolades without top in-state talent).
Yes, certain schools may also edge out Rutgers in the NFL U conversation, but there’s always the sales pitch that for the past two years, RU has either had, or is tied for, the most active players in the Super Bowl.
Initial hurdles in the recruiting process are minor bumps, but landing N.J. born and bred transfer players who were high school stars should be considered a major win.