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Rutgers announces nine early enrollees and it could be more

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Greg Schiano discussed the process and explained the list could grow by mid-January.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers announced a 20 member recruiting class on the first day of the 2022 early signing period on Wednesday. You can view profiles on all 18 scholarship players and one preferred walk-on who signed their national letter of intent here. Gavin Wimsatt, who joined the program in September, was included in the official announcement for the class of 2022.

In addition, the program announced that nine student-athletes will enroll in January and begin practice in March. They include 4-star recruits in RB Moses Walker and LB Anthony Johnson, as well as ATH Thomas Amankwaa, OL Kwabena Asamoah, DL Kenny Fletcher, TE Mike Higgins, DL Q’yaeir Price, WR Rashad Rochelle, and OL Emir Stinette.

In a call with the media on Wednesday, head coach Greg Schiano explained that group could grow before the mid-January start date.

“It’s somewhere between nine and fourteen. There are still some things being played out. We have a few situations trying to find out if they are eligible in school and if their district will allow them to. We are working on some things there but I do totally understand the purpose and reason that people want to start early.”

Even if the number of early enrollees remains nine, along with Wimsatt who is already enrolled, Rutgers will have half of its 2022 class on campus in a matter of weeks.

In asking Schiano if having such a significant portion of the class enroll early was the biggest benefit of the early signing period, he explained how it’s changed his viewpoint.

“I wasn’t totally comfortable with people missing their senior year second semester,” Schiano explained. “I remember back to my own spring of my senior year. Then I put it into context. I’m not a future first round pick. Maybe that senior spring is more important to me than a kid who has the potential to be a first round draft pick and can change the trajectory of the entire family.”

in regard to the benefit enrolling early gives a player, Schiano continued, “That head start they get six months ahead can really be a big difference. When you look at if a premier player comes and is going to be there for three seasons, that one semester is a big percentage of time spent in your program. If he has to sacrifice that, it’s actually a pretty big sacrifice.”

Schiano elaborated that there is a benefit for him and his staff as well. “What it does is make it safer for coaches,” stated Schiano. “Before the signing date in December, guys could get started with their schooling in January like they are now. But they didn’t have any letter of intent signed. You didn’t know if they were going to be part of your team until the day they showed up on your campus. They told you they were, but until they showed up you didn’t really have black and white they were going to be there. The signing date now let’s you know these guys are comig mid-year.”

As for the group confirmed to enroll early, Schiano commented, “I’m excited about the guys starting early.”

The list includes six of the top ten ranked players in the 2022 class. Adding this group to the roster next semester and giving them the opportunity to be participants in spring practice is a great first step in their development. Having the chance to acclimate to college life and get started with the strength and development program is important as well.

On our early signing period podcast special this week, 247 Sports national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn singled out Thomas Amankwaa as a player who could make an immediate impact next season. Adding a playmaker like Rashad Rochelle early gives him a chance to learn the offense right away. Offensive line signees Kwabena Asamoah and Emir Stinette shouldn’t be expected to be counted on anytime soon, but adding them early only helps depth and their learning curve long term.

As Schiano stated, there could be even more players who signed in the 2022 class that could ultimately begin in January. The benefit it would have on their own development, as well as the impact it would have on the program in the spring and beyond would be significant.