Schiano: Junior Day Is "Kicking Off Point"

With many of the area's top prospects in the 2012 class heading to Rutgers for Saturday's Junior Day, Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano took time to speak with about the goals and impact of the day.

Holy Spirit High (Absecon, N.J.) running back Nigel Jones already holds a verbal offer from Rutgers and has been to the campus several times.

Central Catholic High (Allentown, Pa.) quarterback Brendan Nosovitch is heading to Rutgers with the chance likely he will leave with a verbal offer.

It will be a busy Saturday at the Hale Center as a collection of the area's best talent (approximately 50 players) from the 2012 class will be on campus for Junior Day, and Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano is eagerly anticipating it.

"This is kind of a kicking off point officially of the 2012 class," Schiano told "We've had kids here and done many different things with members of the class, but this is the first time in a large group that the underclassmen are together.

"I know recruiting has been sped up, but this is still the official kickoff to the 2012 class."

The list of attendees is vast, but many of the best players in the state and the region are expected to attend.

Don Bosco Prep's Elijah Shumate, Leonte Carroo, Yuri Wright and Darius Hamilton, Long Branch's Ryan Brodie, Matuk (Monroe, Conn.) quarterback Casey Cochran, Tabor Academy linebacker Jason Sylva, Old Tappan Northern Valley athlete Devin Fuller, West Deptford's Jamil Pollard, St. Peter's Prep safety D.J. Singleton, quarterback Brandon Napoleon, safety/receiver J.R. Robinson, running back Jared Crayton and defensive/offensive lineman Keon Williams each are expected to attend.

Also, Franklin High running back Kye Morgan and receiver Carlton Agudosi, Catholic Memorial (West Roxbury, Mass.) receiver Armani Reeves, Montclair athlete Khalif Herbin, Linden receiver Ruhann Peele and Freehold Boro linebacker Jazzmar Clax each told they would attend, as did a slew of others.

As with most of the attendees, the parents of the players will get a better understanding of Rutgers during the day.

Under NCAA rules, Schiano cannot talk about specific players, but he did give an overview of what can come from the day.

"I think it's a chance to get them in front of the academic community," Schiano said. "Again, we don't want to do too much with Junior Day, ever, because it's just a starting off point. Because of our location, which is one of our strengths, we plan on having several of these kids here many, many times for their own days."

The day will include Schiano speaking to the group and a presentation by the academic support staff as well as time for the recruits and their families to meet informally with members of the coaching staff.

However, it is important not to provide information overload.

"You don't want to do everything, you don't want to touch on everything," Schiano said. "You just kind of get their appetite whet over what we have here to offer. Then, we'll have them down here several more times. You try to build that interest and find out if there's a fit there over time. You can't do it all in one sitting.

"From here on out, it's much more personal. But the time that we're waiting to get the day started with people registered, it's an opportunity for our coaches to get with recruits, but it's not like when they get to come on their own individual day and they get to spend that time with us one-on-one."

Rutgers holds its junior day event so early in the year because of its academic calendar.

Since Rutgers does not begin classes until Tuesday, it cannot host seniors on official visits until the weekend of Jan. 21, according to NCAA rules.

So, rather than sit inactive for two weekends while many other schools are hosting official visitors, Rutgers uses this weekend to host junior day.

"We're going to try and get an advantage by having that junior day," Schiano said. "As long as you're organized …I think our guys do a great job of tracking our local kids so we're ready to go. You're always going to miss somebody, but as we tell them, ‘If we missed you, we apologize. Let's get you down here and get you caught up to speed with what we have to offer.'

"To me, recruiting is a 12-month-a-year process and you try to make sure you build relationships through those months."

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