Schiano Visits JUCO Offensive Tackle

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano spent a lot of his Saturday on a plane, traversing the continent to have an in-home visit with Cerritos College (Norwalk, Calif.) offensive tackle Fou Fonoti. After the visit, Fonoti checked in with to explain how it went, what was discussed and more.

Arguably the biggest target on Rutgers' recruiting board, both physically and figuratively, met Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano for the first time Saturday and came away with a favorable impression.

Fou Fonoti, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive tackle from Cerritos College (Norwalk, Calif.), hosted Schiano and offensive line coach Kyle Flood during an in-home visit on the last day before the dead period begins.

"We were really impressed," Fonoti said. "They came over for about an-hour-and-a-half, talked about the school, and coach Schiano had his Ipad and was showing me some things. He showed me the Hale Center and some things about the program."

"I didn't know anything about Rutgers. I just knew they were a big-time school and in New Jersey. (Saturday), I learned a lot about them that I didn't know."

Fonoti already visited Arizona, Washington State and Michigan State. He will trip to UCLA next weekend and fly to New Jersey for his official visit to Rutgers the weekend of Jan. 21-23, and make a decision shortly thereafter.

"Coach Schiano told me they were a big ‘ol family, and he showed me the bracelet they where, and F.A.M.I.L.Y. on it," Fonoti said. "It's the letters Forget About Me, I Love You. I love seeing that. I thought that was pretty big.

"I saw he has the block ‘R' everywhere. He had it on his shirt, he had it on his cuff links, and he showed me the video of how the Rs are everywhere. That's big-time support right there."

The purpose of the in-home visit was to make Fonoti more aware of the Scarlet Knights, and also re-iterate Rutgers' need to bring in a junior college offensive lineman who can compete for one of the tackle positions immediately.

"(Schiano) said that they really need linemen," Fonoti said. "He said (Rutgers) was looking for the best juco offensive linemen, and they came up with (Rutgers signee) Dallas Hendrikson and me. He said, ‘We got Dallas, and now they're working on me.'

"Coach Flood is a nice guy. He didn't talk as much because coach Schiano did a lot of the talking since he can only come out to the house once. Coach Flood was putting his two cents in, and was telling me how his coaching style is, how they run a pro-style offense, and things like that."

Also, Schiano's gesture of flying across the country accentuated Rutgers' interest in Fonoti.

"That was something," he said. "I'm pretty honored to have the coach come visit. Just to see a head coach of a school way out there on the east coast, to come out here and visit me on the west coast, and just to show they knew of me, for him jus to come way out here …he spent more time than he spent with me on a plane.

"I was like, ‘Oh, man.' I told him, ‘Coach, I'm very honored to have you in my living room.' I appreciate the loyalty and effort just to come out and meet me. That shows a lot to me."

The next step Fonoti is trying to figure out is where he wants to play his college ball. He played at Mayfair High (Lakewood, Calif.) before Cerritos and isn't sure if he wants to leave home or not to finish his college career.

"By meeting them, it's something I'm going to be considering them," Fonoti said. "But it all depends on how the visit goes, and the atmosphere out there. I'm just trying to take advantage of all these visits."

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