Greg Schiano was the first to take the podium on Friday morning during Big Ten Media Day at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It was no surprise to see recruiting be a hot topic during Schiano’s time on stage.
According to 247Sports, Rutgers’ Class of 2022 is the fourth best in the Big Ten and ranked 12th nationally. With his current staff and philosophy in place, Schiano believes this is just the beginning with the Scarlet Knights.
“I really believe Rutgers in the Big Ten what a great opportunity for young student-athletes,” Schiano said. “To be in the New York metropolitan area, to be playing football at a great academic institution, why shouldn’t you go there, not why should you.”
Schiano credits his staff with having a good plan in place when visiting potential recruits. He has built a culture at Rutgers in a short period of time. That is only going to continue as his players come in and they win a few more games.
“I think a couple things, number one, we have great staff,” Schiano said. “Eric Josephs who leads our recruiting department does an incredible job, our staff works very, very hard at recruiting....The thing that is most important to me is our place isn’t for everybody and I want the young people to know that we’re very, very up front. I tell our coaches be the same guy when you’re recruiting them as you’re going to be when you coach them. And I think our guys do a tremendous job of that.”
The Scarlet Knights currently have five four-star recruits in the Class of 2022. Of the five future Scarlet Knights, four are out-of-state recruits. While Rutgers has had success in other states, Schiano still feels that keeping New Jersey talent in-state is a priority.
“It’s well chronicled that New Jersey has been a hotbed of high school football and college recruiting for a number of years and people have gone different places and that never worried me,” Schiano said.
“I truly believe that if we bring the right people and hopefully their from New Jersey, New York, that metropolitan area, but we go elsewhere. If we bring the right people, the right cultural fits to our program, we’re going to be fine.”
In the Class of 2021, Rutgers landed five of New Jersey’s top 15 and seven of the top 20. This is led by four-star recruits Alijah Clark and Khayri Banton. That has continued in the Class of 2022 with six recruits in the top 20 having committed to the Scarlet Knights — led by Jacob Allen, who is the No. 1 player in the state.
This was not always the case. During his first stint, Schiano had to recruit hard out of state because attending Rutgers was not considered in play.
“This was back in 2001,” Schiano said. “It wasn’t in vogue to go to Rutgers. We actually built our program with a majority of South Florida players. At one point I think we had 39 scholarship players from South Florida. But then when we started to win it became cool to go to Rutgers and one of the best players in New Jersey started staying home and going to Rutgers.”
Schiano is hoping that this can happen again. Rutgers finished 3-6 last season but this was a major improvement from the year before. In 2019, the Scarlet Knights did not win a conference game. Last season, they were able to pickup three victories and of their six losses, three came by one score.
The tone seems to be changing in Piscataway and that was present in year one of Schiano’s second tenure. Rutgers is looking to take another step in 2021 after preparation that was a bit more normal and fans back in the stadium.
SHI Stadium is set to operate at 100% capacity for the season-opener against Temple on Thursday, Sept. 2. The Scarlet Knights have already found success on the recruiting trail but that can continue with another good year in 2021, especially if it ends with a bowl game.