Two major traits of head coach Greg Schiano that have made him so successful as a recruiter at Rutgers and beyond over the years is forming strong relationships and being thorough in the evaluation process. One prospect that stands out as a direct product of those two qualities in the 2022 recruiting class that signed on Wednesday is Dantae Chin.
The 6’4”, 300 pounder is a 3-star recruit out of Weston, Florida and is one of seven student-athletes to sign in the 2022 class along the offensive line. The difference with Chin compared to every other signee for Rutgers is his lack of experience. It’s why he could become the biggest sleeper prospect that Rutgers signed this cycle.
Chin grew up in Jamaica playing basketball and soccer. He ever was on Jamaica’s U16 national basketball team per his 247 Sports profile. His first season of playing football came this past fall. It’s been an incredible rise for Chin, who primarily played left tackle for a Cypress Bay team that went 7-3. His season performance landed him in the the BCAA North vs. South All-Star game and earned him a 3-star recruiting rating by ESPN, Rivals and 247 Sports.
He committed to Rutgers on November 29 and officially signed on Wednesday. Schiano was asked what it was about Chin that stood out to Rutgers in the recruiting process.
“I don’t know if it’s something that stood out to us and not others. I think what happens is recruiting is so accelerated that a lot of programs don’t recruit senior class,” Schiano explained. “They don’t go back and check the senior class because they’re already on to the 23s and the 24s. This young man didn’t start playing football until this season, so there was no junior/sophomore tape to watch of him.”
It comes back to due diligence and relationships. Rutgers didn’t stop looking for sleeper prospects in their senior seasons and their pipeline built over time with high school coaches paid off in this instance.
“He’s a very good athlete. The hard thing when you find one of those is you sit there, and the old saying, this is too good to be true, right? So we dug and dug,” said Schiano. “Fortunately — I know I’m getting old when this occurs — the head coach at Cypress Bay High School, I coached against his dad back in the day. So I know him, and I know his dad. Many members on our staff knew the coach and went down there and did their investigation, and sure enough, it came up great. Rocco Casullo is his name, and he’s really a fine coach. He gave us information we felt comfortable with, and we met him.”
As for advancing the process of Chin’s recruitment, Schiano said, “His whole family came up on a visit. Each time he cleared a threshold, we felt better and better to the point where we feel fortunate we have him. Again, he fits in that area of need, and we just want to see how fast he can develop.”
Our David Anderson’s recruiting profile on Chin offered this assessment of his potential:
“His tape looks plenty good enough for a Power Five prospect, albeit a raw one. He plays with passion, nastiness, energy, and finishes his man into the ground a good percentage of the time. He looks bigger than his listed height and weight (though that might be because he needs to get lower into his stance prior to the snap) and is still growing into his body. His technique other than down blocking is limited right now, but he has the body control and balance that would indicate he should be able to pick it up with good coaching, though has a long way to go. I have no idea how the staff found Chin considering I work in Fort Lauderdale and had never heard of him before he committed to Rutgers, but he looks like a late steal potentially if given the proper time to develop.”
Among a group of seven offensive lineman in the 2022 recruiting class, as well as several first or second year players in that position group already, Chin should have plenty of time to develop. Rutgers can’t count on him to be a contributor anytime soon, but he is the type of raw prospect with upside that is a project worth taking on. If Chin can make an impact at any stage of his career, he should be considered a major steal based on the circumstances of his recruitment.
It’s the way that Rutgers found him that is the bigger takeaway. The program will always recruit New Jersey and the surrounding area well. Key states like Florida and Ohio will also always priorities. But one aspect of Schiano’s recruiting over the years was finding prospects with little acclaim that he and his staff were able to develop into major contributors that later led them to be considered hidden gems . Hopefully it happens again with Dantae Chin, but even if he doesn’t, the process in which he was discovered will pay off long term for Rutgers.