Recruiting Reset: Defense

Rutgers' 2011 class is filling up quickly, but the Scarlet Knights continue to recruit a number of players hard. Sorting through all the names can sometimes be a mind-numbing endeavor, so is breaking down to a simplistic format. There is also an added twist of how Rutgers is looking with each player.

There are still plenty of names on Rutgers' recruiting board, but it doesn't appear to be a year in which the Scarlet Knights are in position to bring in 22 to 25 players in the class.

Rutgers already has 13 non-binding oral commitments from high school seniors, and class of 2010 non-qualifiers Kenneth Kirksey, Djwany Mera and Tejay Johnson each said they were still committed to the Scarlet Knights.

Keep in mind the recruiting world changes quickly, and Rutgers is always evaluating new players and some remain under the radar and turn up unexpectedly.

However, with a strong jump on 2011 recruiting in which Rutgers identified players quickly and were able to sell its vision, it leaves only about a dozen uncommitted players on each side of the ball which Rutgers is recruiting hard.

So, in talking to various sources in the high school ranks and getting input from recruits, will provide the skinny on what is going on with Rutgers' top targets.

Ishaq Williams
DE Ishaq Williams, Lincoln High (Brooklyn) -- Williams' father told late Wednesday night his son would officially visit Notre Dame, Penn State and Alabama, but did not want to reveal the other two destinations yet.
One being talked about is USC, and is hearing the incredibly athletic Williams has told a few people close to him he planned on making a trip to Rutgers. It is a long-shot for the Scarlet Knights to land Williams, but he hasn't forgotten how early Rutgers offered him in the recruiting process.

OLB Branden Jackson, McKeesport (Pa.) High -- It speaks volumes he has two official visits set up during the season, and Rutgers (this weekend) is one of them. (Texas Tech was the other). He is a hybrid player who could split time at defensive end and linebacker.
His coach, Jim Ward, has a very good relationship with Rutgers assistant Robb Smith, and Jackson bought into the F.A.M.I.L.Y. approach the Scarlet Knights embrace when he camped in June. He is the 8th-rated outside linebacker in the class, and Rutgers stands a good chance to land it.

DT/OL Delvon Simmons, McKeepsport High -- Simmons has one official visit set, and that is this weekend to Rutgers. He has a strong relationship with his coach, Jim Ward, and that bodes well for Rutgers. This is Simmons' first trip to Rutgers, so he will have a much better idea if it is a place he could live four or five years.
Another aspect is how Rutgers sells him on his position since schools are split as to whether he will be a defensive tackle or offensive guard in college. He's open to anything, which means Rutgers has a very good chance to make the first impression in the official visit category.

S Sheldon Royster, St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) -- If Royster wasn't splitting time in the same backfield with five-star running back Savon Huggins, he would likely be the top running back in the state. However, he remains the top safety, despite his recruitment being quiet.
Royster has a strong relationship with the staff, and playing close to his Woodbridge home is something he has talked about. Rutgers is in very good shape with Royster, but he may not decide until close to signing day, so a lot could change.

DT Chris Jones, Raines High (Jacksonville, Fla.) -- Rutgers has been recruiting Jones for a while, but the Scarlet Knights' interest was just uncovered recently by He grew up in the Harlem section of New York, and knows plenty about the Scarlet Knights and likes the school.
He also holds more than two dozen offers, and doesn't plan on taking visits until after the season. If Rutgers can get him on campus, it has a good shot at him because if offers so much of what he wants in a school, and a football program.

CB Johnathan Aiken, Chaminade Madonna Prep (Hollywood, Fla.) -- No cornerback was better at Rutgers' June camps, and he returned the love by stating time and again Rutgers was his favorite. He is also dynamite on special teams.
A mid-October official visit to Nebraska is on tap, but his recruitment could end before that if he makes his Oct. 1-3 official visit to Rutgers and commits during it.

Ramik Wilson
OLB Ramik Wilson, Jefferson High (Tampa) -- Rutgers continues to hang around in Wilson's recruitment and is helped by the fact his former teammate, Fred Overstreet, is a freshman linebacker for the Scarlet Knights.
However, Wilson already said he will officially visit Georgia, Purdue, Texas Tech and Arkansas, and is contemplating Rutgers, Cincinnati and Minnesota for a fifth. But it seems as though the longer Rutgers hangs around, the better the chance to land him.

DT Brandon Clemons, Delaware Valley High (Milford, Pa.) -- One of the toughest recruits to read on Rutgers' board is Clemons, and he said he is thinking the most about Boston College and Pittsburgh at this time.
Clemons' recruitment has a twist since he is also being recruited to play offensive line by several schools, but Rutgers will have to come from behind to get him.

S Corian Hamilton, Olympia High (Orlando) -- While Hamilton may not be at Royster's level, he is a very good against the pass and reads quarterbacks very well. He has consistently told he will make an official visit to Rutgers. He said the Scarlet Knights and West Virginia will make his final cut, but he is deciding on others.

Elkino Watson, Booker T. Washington High (Miami) -- Rutgers is yet to offer him, but that could change after the first month of game film makes its way to Piscataway. He camped at Rutgers and stood out to the staff, and is anxious to hear back about an offer.
Watson said he plans to make an official visit to Rutgers, but it likely will not take place until after the season.

S Jermaine Reve, Northwestern High (Miami) -- The one-time Central Florida commit continues to look around, and told he plans on tripping to Rutgers, Syracuse and Cincinnati. He still does not hold an offer from Rutgers, but performed well at its camp and remains a player to watch as his senior season progresses.

S Khambrel Garland, St. Thomas Aquinas High (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) -- Garland told two weeks ago he loved Rutgers and is hoping to get an offer from the Scarlet Knights, but he will have to prove on the field he is capable of being a high-caliber safety in college, even though he is playing cornerback this season.
He is another player Rutgers is watching very closely as the season plays out, and he plans on sending film to the coaching staff in a few weeks.

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