Rutgers Schiano showing signs of locking down New Jersey

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

When Greg Schiano started his second stint Rutgers football coach, he inherited an atrocious recruiting class. He’s turning things around starting with the Garden State.

He was looking at a class that was dead last in the Big Ten. The new early signing period made it even tougher for returning Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano to make any kind of last-minute difference. Not to mention, he still had to get his coaching staff together.

In the last two weeks, Rutgers recruiting class passed Illinois in the Big Ten and jumped nearly 40 spots nationally to the 64th ranked class (all rankings in this article are according to the 247 Sports Composite rankings).

Schiano’s been working about as hard as anyone, and the results are showing. It’s not just the improvement of this class, but how nicely next year’s class is shaping up. Rutgers 2021 class is currently 40th in the country and eighth in the conference. Just two hard commits, but it’s worth noting that they’re both from New Jersey.

The Garden State has good D-1 talent–Rutgers has just been having a tough time keeping that talent in-state.  Schiano, however, is obviously extremely well-connected in the state and has spent this short time recruiting with a staff that is also very well-connected locally.  New Jersey is tied for 11th in the country with eight four-to-five-star recruits.

That’s 2.2 percent of the blue chips in the country. Only two other states within the Big Ten in that top eleven. Michigan is the state tied with Jersey for 11th, and Maryland is tied for sixth. There’s more than enough nearby talent for Rutgers to compete in the conference. They’ve already made huge moves, and Schiano has a track record of great local recruiting.

When Schiano was the defensive coordinator at Miami (FL), he and the rest of the Hurricanes staff did a great job recruiting locally and made it clear to Florida and Florida State where Cane territory was. Jersey doesn’t have as much talent as Florida, which is why it’s important to protect the home state.

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The Scarlet Knights have had some very tough de-commits in recent years; highlighted by the infamous Saquon Barkley de-commitment in 2014. Jonathan Taylor, who just finished a stellar collegiate career as one of the best running backs in the country for Wisconsin, was once committed to Rutgers, as well as star NCAA tight end at Miami, David Njoku. Taylor and Njoku were Jersey kids.

That can’t happen if RU wants to be successful going forward. Rutgers needs to solidify a recruiting wall all across the state, while maybe poaching some Eastern Pennsylvania stars like they were supposed to do with Barkley.

So far in Schiano’s tenure, Rutgers is focusing on and making those moves. Rutgers football will get better, and recruiting well in-state not only gives Schiano more quality talent to work with but also will improve the brand of Rutgers football for years to come.

Next. Greg Schiano’s road to achieving lofty Rutgers goals. dark

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