With the news that Rutgers football hs lost head coach Greg Schiano to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, many Scarlet Knights fans are left to wonder what will happen with Rutgers' recruiting. SB Nation's excellent Rutgers' blog, On The Banks, is on the case with an excellent roundup.
Before the Schiano departure, Rutgers had the best class in the Big East, with 22 percent of Rutgers' non kicker/punter high school commitments being consensus blue-chip recruits (rated four or five-stars by the four major services). And that percentage was expected to skyrocket, as the Scarlett Knights looked poised to sign some of the top players in New Jersey, including Darius Hamilton and Devin Fuller.
Now that class is very much in jeopardy not only of failing to close strong, but of failing to keep its committed prospects as well.
The timing of Schiano's departure is simply a disaster, and especially in the recruitment of Hamilton and Fuller, with whom Schiano skipped his meeting Thursday while rumors swirled about his departure for Tampa Bay. Local high school coaches said the Rutgers assistants were shocked when Schiano missed the scheduled meeting with recruits:
"The coaches were kind of shocked," Don Bosco coach Greg Toal said. "They said 'Coach Schiano, he's never late for anything." - Don Bosco prep coach Greg Toal
The impact at Don Bosco could be pretty severe, according to NJ.com:
At Don Bosco alone, where the assistants were in place to secure Leonte Carroo, a four-star wide receiver, and woo Darius Hamilton, one of the top recruits in the nation, Schiano's departure is already evident. Hamilton was leaning toward Rutgers, [Don Bosco head coach] Toal said, but now that's uncertain as he takes an official visit to Miami today. Carroo, committed for months, is now openly looking around and will accompany his teammate.
Mike Giacone, a tight end from St. Peter's, is now also reconsidering his options, Hansen said.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reached out to the coach of Quanzell Labert, one of Rutgers' top recruits. The linebacker was concerned, but has yet to decommit:
He has not de-committed from the Scarlet Knights but was "shocked" by Schiano's departure, according to Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson.
"He's going to give it a little time before making any decisions," Hinson said of Lambert, who is scheduled to sign with Rutgers on Wednesday, which is the NCAA's National Signing Day for football recruits. Lambert was a first team all-South Jersey linebacker.
Another recruit affected by this decision is offensive lineman Ryan Brodie, an offensive lineman from New Jersey. Brodie committed to Rutgers on Wednesday. But 24 hours later, his head coach was gone. Brodie's father spoke with Steven Falk:
"It hit me like a ton of bricks,'' said Bryan Brodie, Ryan Brodie's father on Thursday afternoon. "We had no idea whatsoever. He (Schiano) always told us he would be there, never planned on leaving and had his dream job.
Bryan Brodie said, "right now it is "70-30'' that his son eventually signs a National Letter of Intent to attend Rutgers. "He fell in love with the school,'' Bryan Brodie said. "You have to really think, do you love the school and the coach. I think he still loves the school. If the staff stays intact, he could stay.''
Brodie holds multiple BCS offers.
But not all recruits are considering leaving Rutgers. Davon Jacobs spoke to The Record Thursday:
DePaul's Davon Jacobs, who verbally committed to Rutgers on June 30, remained committed to the Scarlet Knights as of Thursday.
"Obviously, hearing that Coach Schiano has decided to leave Rutgers was a shock to me, especially so close to Signing Day," Jacobs said in a statement released by DePaul. "I can imagine it was a difficult decision for him to make and I'm sure he did what he thought was best for him and his family.
And Jacobs is not alone in standing by Rutgers, per the Courier Times:
Archbishop Wood’s Desmon Peoples and Brandon Arcidiacono and Pennsbury’s J.J. Denman still likely will sign letters of intent for Rutgers on national signing day next Wednesday.
There's no way Rutgers can recover in time to have the class it was looking like it would land. Recruiting is about relationships, and those relationships have been irreparably damaged. Many of the lesser-rated kids will stay with Rutgers because they don't have better offers and want to play close to home. But the top players with options will certainly investigate those before committing the next four years of their life to the uncertainty that is the Rutgers program. The timing is simply awful for a program that was looking great on the recruiting front just a few days ago.