Every coach and fan remembers those special moments that help turn a struggling program around. Yesterday may very well turn out to be one of those moments for the Rutgers University football program.
Since the major turn around by Rutgers and head coach Greg Schiano, the Scarlet Knights have been stuck in mediocrity. This is a program in need of an additional lift. Something to get the fan base excited again and get the state of New Jersey to once again give it’s full attention.
Yesterday was National Signing Day! In the future, when people think of Rutgers Football and the moments that pushed this program to the next level, February 2, 2011 may be one of those days.
The argument can be made that the 2011 recruiting class is the best in the history of Rutgers football. The talent level being brought in is tremendous. There is no limit to the potential of this group.
Schiano was able to secure commitments from some of the states top players, while also filling team needs. This is something Schiano and his staff has struggled at in recent years.
You have a QB that at least looks the part in Gary Nova, a top tier running back in Savon Huggins, a few big time defensive lineman, and added some much needed help for the offensive line. This group certainly has the potential to improve the performance on the field for Rutgers, but the impact could go much deeper than that.
By signing players like Nova, Marquise Wright, Huggins, and Keith Lumpkin, Rutgers was able to break up a connection with the states top high school programs. Nova comes from Don Bosco Prep, a dominant force in New Jersey high school football as well as a national force. Rutgers has gotten players from DBP in the past, including former QB Mike Teel, but it’s the combination of other players that make this so special.
Huggins and Lumpkin attend St. Peter’s Prep. Rutgers and the top private high schools like St. Peter’s Prep have struggled to put together a connection in recent years. Breaking that barrier this season could turn out to be huge for the program. Every year, schools like Don Bosco and St. Peter’s have multiple DI prospects that schools all over the country covet.
Savon Huggins was ranked the No. 1 recruit in New Jersey this season. By signing Huggins, Rutgers for the first time ever was able to acquire the state’s top recruit.
Wright comes from another of those top schools, Paramas Catholic. The 2011 class also includes another Don Bosco star in running back Paul Canevari.
If Rutgers can continue this years trend of getting a handful of the state’s top players and keeping the connection with the high powered high school programs in the state, the program has no limits. Schiano and his staff did an excellent job of building connections while putting together this years class.
It could be the 2011 recruiting class that everyone looks back on as the best ever in school history. Obviously, play on the field will determine that, but it’s another step in the right direction for a program that has the geographic location and all the other resources to be a top tier program.