QB Bimonte Ready To Compete

Plenty has taken place the last few days impacting Rutgers' quarterback position. From the transfer of Tom Savage to the commitment of Gary Nova, there is a lot of news. The constant in it all is the commitment of Manalapan High (Englishtown, N.J.) quarterback Mike Bimonte, who talked about how the developments impact him. He also discusses the hiring of new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti.

Manalapan High (Englishtown, N.J.) quarterback and Rutgers commit Mike Bimonte views the transfer of quarterback Tom Savage as an opportunity to play quicker, and the commitment of Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) quarterback Gary Nova as a needed addition.

Bimonte, who is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, also is excited to work with new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, who is bringing a pro-style offense back to Rutgers.

"I view (Savage's transfer) as one less player I have to compete with," Bimonte said. "It opens up a big door for me because with the new hire of coach Cignetti … coach (Greg) Schiano was at my high school last week, and he was telling me that I'm a perfect fit for coach Cignetti's offense. It's good for me, I guess you can say."

Bimonte also knew the Scarlet Knights were taking two quarterbacks in the class, even before Savage transferred, and he welcomed the addition, especially given the uncertainty regarding backup Steve Shimko's situation.

Shimko joins starter Chas Dodd as the only other scholarship quarterback at Rutgers, but his status is uncertain after he undergoing shoulder surgery in the fall.

"They (had) to take another quarterback in my class, regardless," Bimonte said. "You want to have four per team, at least four scholarship quarterbacks, and right now I don't know what the deal is with Shimko. "It leaves me in a great position to compete and take advantage of the opportunity. I'm going to train non-stop and basically eat and sleep football."

Bimonte, a two-star, isn't as highly rated as the three-star Nova, and doesn't come from a national power like Don Bosco Prep, but he made his name as one of the best players at the Jersey Shore the past two seasons.

He completed 95 of 181 passes for 1,746 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions in Manalapan's run-oriented offense. He also showed a strong arm and the ability to complete tough passes as the Braves went 8-3.

"I've always strived to train my hardest regardless of what the situation is," Bimonte said. "I'm one of those kids that very confident and looks at the bright side. I was always told I would get the chance to compete regardless of who's there, and always thought at some point I'm going to beat them all out and start.

"That's just the mindset I have in myself as a player. (Savage's transfer) opens a huge door for me that wasn't as open as it is now when he was there. It's a huge opportunity. "

The hiring of Cignetti helps Bimonte in a number of areas, including learning the offense as a similar rate Dodd will learn it.

After Feb. 2 national signing day, Bimonte can go to Rutgers daily to work out and meet with the coaching staff. He also plans on attending each spring practice.

"While Chas Dodd and all these kids are learning the offense, I'm basically learning it, too," Bimonte said. "We're all starting at the same point."

Bimonte added he was disappointed to learn former offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca would not return because of the strong relationship the two developed, but he is excited about working with Cignetti.

"I've been hearing this is going to happen, so I was able to do some research on him and was able to do some amazing things," Bimonte said. "Like coach Schiano told me, his offense suits me perfectly. He's pro-style like we ran in high school and he's perfect for me."

As for compete with Dodd, Nova, possibly Shimko and walk-ons Jason Friday and Tyler Belia, Bimonte is eager to do it since he knows Schiano has a reputation for playing the best guy, much like he did when Dodd played late in the season over a healthy Savage.

"That's the most you can ask for," Bimonte said. "If the other guy is better than me, than I can't complain or say much."

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