Rutgers pulls a few gems from dismal early signing period

Greg Schiano, Rutgers Scarlet Knights. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Greg Schiano, Rutgers Scarlet Knights. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

A late start to recruiting made it difficult for new Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano to land top recruits. He may have uncovered a few gems in the transfer portal.

With only a few weeks to work prospective recruits, new Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano had his work cut out for him. The early signing period opened on Wednesday and goes through Friday. Needless to say, the Scarlet Knights didn’t do very well in getting players to sign National Letters of Intent with the school.

Slow start to high school recruiting

Nationally, Rutgers football recruiting class of 2020 is ranked 68th out of 130 FBS schools by 24/7 sports. They have no four-star or five-star recruits joining the program thus far. RU’s ranking places them last in the Big Ten once again, and 62nd of 65 Power-Five (plus Notre Dame) schools. Maybe more frustrating is that Rutgers trails four teams from the American Athletic Conference, Cincinnati (54th), Tulane (60th), East Carolina (61st), and Central Florida (64th) as well as Louisiana Tech (66th) from Conference USA.

Schiano did what he could and managed to flip a few of the aspiring college football players to Rutgers. As of now, there will be 16 three-star recruits joining the program, including 10 from New Jersey, five were ranked among the top 25 prospects in the state. Additionally, RU is still in play for four-star running back Jalen Berger of Don Bosco prep who is New Jersey’s second-ranked prospect.

Incoming transfers key

While RU hasn’t done much on the incoming freshman front, they may have struck gold with a pair of transfers. First, defensive lineman, Malik Barrow came over as a graduate transfer from Central Florida. He’s a former four-star recruit who originally went to Ohio State when Schiano was the Buckeyes defensive coordinator. Barrow never played a down due to injury. As a matter of fact, he only played one game at UCF after transferring for the 2019 season. Hopefully, his talent will make up for the lack of experience. The Knights could use some more bulk on the D-line.

Their other big transfer is Peyton Powell from Baylor. The running back/receiver/athlete looked like he was headed to Utah but Schiano was able to persuade him to come to Rutgers. He was a four-star recruit when he signed with the Bears last year, but he didn’t work in head coach Matt Ruhle’s system. Powell can be the impact playmaker the Scarlet Knights have lacked recently.

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