2014 Standouts React to Big Ten Move
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2014 Standouts React to Big Ten Move

Rutgers is moving to the Big Ten, with the formal announcement to come Tuesday afternoon, and a bevy of high-level prospects from the 2014 class share their thoughts on what it means for the football program.

Rutgers could become more deeply involved with several highly-rated prospects as it looks to round out its 2013 recruiting class, but news of the Scarlet Knights moving to the Big Ten is resonating hard with members of the 2014 class.

The formal announcement will come Tuesday at a 2 p.m. press conference, but a number of the region's top juniors expressed excitement about the move.

"I think it's awesome," said Northern Valley Demarest (N.J.) High defensive end Andrew Trumbetti, who counts Notre Dame and Rutgers among his offers. "(It's) a lot more competition and I feel like Rutgers is only getting started with what they have to come. They are going to do awesome in the Big Ten."

Southern Regional High (Manoloking, N.J.) tight end Mike Gesicki, who holds an offer, was among a number of prospects saying the jump in competition is something he is looking forward to.

"It's awesome," Gesicki said. "I think it shows they are raising their level of competition and it shows they are not scared of any schools out there, and (are) ready to compete. It's really cool to think who they will now be playing."

Said Millville (N.J.) High defensive lineman Antoine White: "It's nice to see them competing at a more competitive collegiate level. With the talent in the upcoming recruiting classes, they will hold their ground just fine. All in all, it looks like a great opportunity."

Rutgers landed a player out of Timber Creek Regional High (Erial, N.J.) in the 2012 and 2013 classes, and already offered junior receiver Adonis Jennings.

"I think it's a good choice Jennings said. "They're going to be playing against better competition and we will see how they handle it."

Another top receiver, Saeeed Blacknall of Manalapan High (Englishtown, N.J.), talked views the move to the Big Ten as a huge positive.

"I think it will be a very good look for them," he said. "Anyone who doubted their talent will give RU an opportunity to make a statement about the program."

Salesianum School (Wilmington, Del.) linebacker Troy Reeder, whose offer list includes Penn State and Rutgers, said the move shows the confidence within the program.

"I think it shows that they're confident that they are going to continue to get better," he said, "and that they really want to play better competition."

Two players without offers but getting interest from the Scarlet Knights, Union (N.J.) High running back Jamauri Bogan and Middletown quarterback Darius Wade, both were excited about the news as well.

"It's a great look," Bogan said. "I think more kids are now going to be more interested because now you're playing the Ohio States and the Michigans of the world. So I think it is great for football."

Said Wade: "I believe that is a great move for the university. I believe that they have been a consistently good football team. I really believe they can come in and compete right away, and with more recruiting classes Rutgers can see themselves winning a Big Ten championship."

However, there are also a pair of high-profile prospects in New Jersey who said the move to the Big Ten doesn't change how they look at the school.

"I still feel the same about RU," said St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) running back Jonathan Hilliman, who holds double digit offers. "Still very interested. It'll take some time for them to adjust but they should be fine."

Ramapo (N.J.) High defensive end Jimmy Hogan, who holds a Rutgers offer, said he holds the program in high regard no matter its conference affiliation.

"I'm really excited for them," he said. "I love the program and the coaches are really awesome. No matter how good they are, I love it there."