Its been a tough stretch for Rutgers. One of the toughest stretches in program history, to be exact. But how has the product on the field affected recruiting?
Rutgers appears content to go into the early signing period with the 10 players currently committed, leaving around five slots for its next appointed head coach to take to (traditional) signing day. However, the staff must still keep potential targets warm and recruit committed players as their pledges are verbal and non-binding.
There havent been many high-profile recruits at games this year, partly because of Rutgers performance and partly because its intentionally building a small class, recruits have their own games to attend and most desired seniors are already committed somewhere.
The Irvington (N.J.) high school contingent -- which boasts three potential national recruits and other FBS-caliber players -- was a late scratch as the team had a game against Barringer, providing a blow to the star power on Rutgers visitors list. However, we caught up with others who made the trip for their thoughts about Rutgers on the heels of its 44-34 win over Liberty -- the programs first win since opening weekend.
Union (N.J.) wide receiver Ahmirr Robinson is having one of the best seasons of any wide receiver in the state. Hes committed to Rutgers and has frequented home games this year despite the teams struggles and is proud to be awarded a win.
I think the game was a well-needed spark for the team and the coaches, and the team rallying around their play-makers stood out to me the most, he said. The atmosphere was great, it made me feel that regardless of (how the season has gone )everyone was behind the team and coaches.
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Weequahic (Newark, N.J.) athlete Donovan Wadley, brother of Arkum Wadley who starred at Iowa, also came away impressed.
What stood out the most was how they just fought and kept their heads in the game. It was a good game, he said. Rutgers just wanted it more and they came out on top. They played with heart. It shows me that they have potential and they could bounce back from any situation.
West Side (Newark, N.J.) safety Shua Sutton is one of the most underrated seniors in North Jersey, however, Rutgers has picked up the scent.
I thought highly of the game, Sutton said. "The offense was moving the ball. The defense did a great job. There were a few mistakes, but overall Rutgers did a great job and got a great win.
What stood out the most is how good they treated the recruits and how the players stayed in the game and kept their heads high. As of now, Rutgers is one of my top schools and I hope everything goes well.
Paramus (N.J.) athlete Kyle Jacob is also underrated though being tracked by the Scarlet Knights. He was encouraged most by how Rutgers continued to fight through the back-and-forth game.
The atmosphere was great. Being on the field watching the guys warmup was awesome, Jacob said. They played hard and made plays against Liberty and it was great to see. I think what stood out most was how the players throughout the whole game stayed focus and played their hardest, doing what their coaches told them to do.
Class of 2022 DePaul (Wayne, N.J.) linebacker Thomas McGuire was one of the few players from the Big Six (of the Super Football Conference) to make the trip.
I thought it was great to watch Rutgers compete and win against Liberty. The game was also a great opportunity to talk and meet all the coaches. The culture stood out to me the most. I feel Rutgers has a brotherhood and amazing culture, McGuire said. I like Rutgers a lot and hope in three years to stay home and put on for the state.
Canadian linebacker Dawson Pierre is hopeful to attend Rutgers next season following his stint at Vanier College in Montreal, Quebec. He also gave Saturdays visit high marks.
Going to the Rutgers-Liberty game was a great experience. I think it was a great performance by Rutgers and a great team win. (The) offense and defense played a great game. The atmosphere was what really stood out the most for me, Pierre said. "The crowd, the ambiance and to see how much fun the guys were having.
Everything was awesome! Currently, Rutgers is my No. 1 choice. I would really love to play for Rutgers next season and I am looking forward to making it happen.
Many visitors who confirmed theyd attend never made it to Piscataway Saturday. However, those who did got a pleasant surprise. It remains to be seen if interim head coach Nunzio Campanile -- who got his first win as a college head coach Saturday -- and staff can build on this momentum.
I enjoyed the energy of the game and being on the sidelines, said Donovan Catholic (Toms River, N.J.) class of 2022 defensive tackle Dominick Brogna. Watching them warm-up and run out really got me fired up. I was excited to be there as they got a team win along with coach Nunzios first win as head coach.
Can Rutgers find a way to be competitive against the brutal schedule ahead, starting with Illinois which recently beat Wisconsin in the biggest upset of the year?
And it doesnt get any easier from there.
In fact, it gets much, much harder as Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State round out Rutgers schedule down the stretch.
But, at least the coaches and players got to enjoy one more win in front of recruits before heading down the murderers row of Big Ten play.
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Todderick Hunt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TodderickHunt. Find NJ.com Rutgers Football on Facebook.
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