Rutgers Adjusts Recruiting Philosophy

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- There will be plenty of attention the field Saturday as Rutgers hosts North Carolina in a highly-anticipated matchup, but there will also be plenty of action off the field when it comes to recruiting. And one thing that shows of the significance of the weekend is Rutgers' willingness to host a pair of official visitors, something it rarely does within the season.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers coach Greg Schiano isn't changing a core belief in how his program recruits, but he is making an alteration this weekend.

Schiano shies away from in-season official visits because he is so focused games within a season, but this weekend that is changing as a pair of highly-prized recruits from western Pennsylvania fly in for official visits.

Last season Rutgers hosted a number of official visitors on the last weekend of the regular season, which was also out of the norm, but hosting players in September is something very different.

"I prefer not to do that," Schiano said. "There are certain situations that arise that are time sensitive, so we need to do it. When necessary, we work through it."

The two players visiting for Saturday's game against North Carolina are McKeesport (Pa.) High linebacker Branden Jackson and two-way lineman Delvon Simmons. Jackson is the 8th-rated outside linebacker prospect in the 2011 class.

But it doesn't appear to be the end of the in-season official visits.

Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood, Fla.) cornerback Jonathan Aiken is planning an official visit for homecoming, when Rutgers hosts Tulane on Oct. 2.

Schiano cannot speak about particular individuals because of NCAA rules, but the official visitors are not the only recruits who will attend as a large contingent of New Jersey's strong 2012 class are scheduled to attend as well.

With this being a highly anticipated matchup, there is a popular thought a poor effort by the Scarlet Knights could adversely impact recruiting.

However, recruits often don't crystallize a moment, good or bad, and make it a determining factor in their decisions. Just as Rutgers sophomore defensive back Duron Harmon, who watched Rutgers get beat by North Carolina 44-12 in 2008.

"When I was a recruit, I watched that game," Harmon said. "The schedule and the record, that didn't make me come here. What made me come here was the coaches, the players, the atmosphere Rutgers has."

Among the under classmen expected to attend are are receiver Ruhann Peele of Linden (N.J.) High, athlete Devin Fuller of Northern Valley High (Old Tappan, N.J.) and Holy Spirit High (Absecon, N.J.) running back Nigel Jones.

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