If it is tough to project the future impact of college recruits heading to the NFL, imagine how inexact the science of projecting the production of young men heading toward a college football program can be. Certainly, schools like Alabama and Ohio State annually fair well in recruiting, but that status may be a result of the quantity of recruits providing quality because of sheer number. In addition, programs like Ohio State, Florida State and Alabama have brand recognition that allows recruits to gravitate to them as well.
With a football program in the throes of a downward spiral that culminated in the firing of its head coach and athletic director, Rutgers’ new head football coach Chris Ash made the curious decision to remain with Ohio State University through its New Year’s Day bowl game. This decision meant that the new head man at Rutgers was not fully available for the Scarlet Knights until January 7th, less than one month before National Signing Day.
That decision is water under the bridge right now, but it appears to have had a somewhat negative impact on the 2016 recruiting class. Nationally, website “24/7 Sports” had the Scarlet Knights’ class ranked 75th overall, below Maryland (42nd), Indiana (56th), Temple (57th) and Syracuse (64th); all programs comparable to Rutgers in football stature and expectations.
N.J. Advance Media reported On February 5, 2016 that Ash and his football staff are likely trying to get their heads wrapped around what they did accomplish, rather than play the what-if game. “I haven’t really thought about the guys that we wanted that we didn’t get to be honest with you,” Ash said on Wednesday as he announced a 17-player recruiting class. “One thing you’ll find out about me, I’m not really concerned about the guys that are not here in this program or are not coming to join us. I’m concerned about the guys that are here and the guys that we signed.”
Rutgers was able to secure the services of dual threat quarterback Tylin Oden from Tennessee this week, after losing prized prospect Anthony Russo to Temple. The Knights also lost out on wide receiver Taysir Mack, who flipped to Big Ten rival Indiana on signing day. But with three wide receivers already in the fold, including the nephew of former star wideout Mohamed Sanu (Mohamed Jabbie), the Knights would appear to have some depth at the position.
Of critical importance to Rutgers is to land the services of a kicker, after former recruit Alex Barbir flipped to Penn State last month. Given that the kicking game does not vary from coach to coach, Barbir’s decommitment was more of a case of shopping for the best offer by the player, which makes recruiting the spectator sport that it is.