The era of NIL has added multiple new aspects to recruiting for a head coach.
Not only do programs have to focus on recruiting high school players but the transfer portal has become its own monster. Yes, this was always around but with the changes in recent years and NIL money being thrown around, it has taken a major step up.
The third element of recruiting has become retaining players already on your roster. It has become easy for players to transfer and potentially find a school where the earning potential is higher.
With all things considered, Greg Schiano has thrived in keeping the Scarlet Knights together entering 2024.
Rutgers is preparing to play its first legitimate bowl game following a six-win season since 2014. We are still two weeks away from the game but the Scarlet Knights have received plenty of good news leading up to it.
Schiano and the Scarlet Knights continue to retain some key pieces on both sides of the ball for next season. Offensively, the Big Ten’s leading rusher Kyle Monangai announced that he would be returning on Monday. This follows offensive lineman Hollin Pierce and Bryan Felter and wide receiver Christian Dremel.
Joe Harasymiak will also retain leaders of his defense. Linebackers Tyreem Powell and Mohamed Toure will be back, along with Aaron Lewis and Wesley Bailey along the defensive line. Max Melton is the lone player that declared for the 2024 NFL Draft while Robert Longerbeam and Flip Dixon have yet to announced decisions.
So what does it mean?
There are plenty of changes that could be made to improve this Rutgers team and that showed over the final month and a half of the season. The quarterback position remains at the top of the list as the passing attack must improve. What Schiano showed is that the culture is strong and the team has bought in.
Schiano has worked to bring his guys in the building, both on the field and within the coaching staff. Once he returned to Piscataway, the goal became improving the culture and erasing the bad taste left from previous head coaches. In today’s era, it would be easy and very possible for Scarlet Knights to explore other options elsewhere. Instead, they decided to commit to Rutgers moving forward and continue what is being built.
This also shows that making a bowl game consistently will go a long way. Rutgers is not a the point where championships can be discussed. Getting to six wins this season was a challenge and one that was accomplished by the skin of their teeth (thankfully Michigan State couldn’t close a game). With this group returning, the goal will remain the same next season with the hopes of getting to seven wins.
There was no real threat of Monangai transferring to another school but his decision came down to Rutgers or the NFL. His return sparked thoughts of what Schiano has been able to do in the short amount of time since the season ended.
Rutgers continues to prepare for Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl and will do so with many top players available and eyeing the 2024 season. Schiano has kept his word of developing this program and will continue to do so with familiar faces next year.