An In-Depth Look at Recruiting Needs

With the spring evaluation period coming to a close and camps just around the corner, takes an adjusted, realistic look at recruiting the Class of 2012. Five are already verbally committed, how many more will Rutgers seek and who are the top positional targets? estimates an incoming recruiting class of 15-18. Four of Rutgers' five verbal commitments to date are on the offensive side of the ball, so expect a heavier emphasis on defense in the months to come.


Defensive Line (2-3): An established pass-rusher is the top need in recruiting the Class of 2012. And Darius Hamilton is the top target on Rutgers' overall recruiting board.

Hamilton is the best defensive player in the Garden State and son of former New York Giant Keith Hamilton. His former teammates, Gary Nova and Paul Canevari, and relationship with assistant Jeff Hafley are crucial to the recruiting process.

Rutgers is in good standing with Montclair's Julian Pinnix-Odrick and is also involved with Wichita, Kan., resident Trace Clark. Both will be on campus at Rutgers this summer and by no means should be considered contingency plans to Hamilton.

Linebackers (2-3): Steve Longa fits perfectly at weakside linebacker for Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights still need someone in the middle after missing out on Dan Mastromatteo.

Quanzell Lambert is the top target at middle linebacker and likes the Scarlet Knights plenty because of his relationship with the coaching staff and the emphasis on academics.

Rutgers is also looking for a strongside linebacker and Mike Strizak and Nyeem Wartman are in contention. Rutgers is in good standing with Strizak, who has teammates on Rutgers and a great relationship with assistant coach Jeff Hafley. Wartman is planning on making a decision by the end of the month.

Cornerbacks (2): Don Bosco's Yuri Wright is the top target at cornerback, but Rutgers has a lot of competition for's No. 6 cornerback in 2012.

DePaul Catholic's Davon Jacobs told that Rutgers is recruiting him as a cornerback. Jacobs is high on Rutgers, but Boston College, Connecticut and Illinois are picking things up.

Delon Stephenson, whose older brother Daryl Stephenson joins the Scarlet Knights in June, told that he expects to play defensive back at the next level. Stephenson does not want to wait too much longer before making a decision, he said. Rutgers, which is recruiting Stephenson as an athlete, remains his lone offer.

Old Tappan stud Devin Fuller wants to be a quarterback in college, but it appears that Rutgers prefers him on the defensive side of the ball. It's the same story for St. Peters Prep's Brandon Napoleon, who olds offers from schools as a "skill position player," defensive back and quarterback. Napoleon, however, told that Rutgers was his leader.

South Brunswick's Jevon Tyree will camp at Rutgers and expressed interested in staying close to home for college.

Safeties (2): Safety is interesting because two of Rutgers' top targets, Don Bosco's Elijah Shumate and St. Peters Prep's D.J. Singleton, have linebacker potential. Singleton will play linebacker in his senior year. reported multiple times this week that Rutgers has ground to make up with Wayne Morgan, and with his decision coming later this week, the writing may be on the wall.

Also, linebacker and safety recruiting will go hand-in-hand in the coming months with Shumate and Singleton as top targets for either position.


Quarterbacks(1): Rutgers is all-set at quarterback. With Blake Rankin committing at the spring game, two incoming freshmen and a sophomore starter, offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti has a young, talented nucleus of passers in his arsenal.

Rutgers told Fuller he would "get a chance" at quarterback if he chose the Scarlet Knights, but it is all Rankin beyond that.

Running backs (1-2): Desmon Peoples, the second member of the Class of 2012, is all Rutgers needs at running back after Savon Huggins signed his National Letter of Intent.

Drew Harris, however, possesses a combination of speed and size too eye-popping to ignore. Former teammate of Rutgers signee Tyler Kroft and Scarlet Knight Taj Alexander, Harris is the lone running back Rutgers is recruiting with fervor.

Wide Receivers (2-3): Similarly to running back, Rutgers already has much of what it needs at the position.

The already young receivers group added the physically imposing Carlton Agudosi and athletic Ruhann Peele in the spring. Like Harris, however, some receivers have too much talent to not seek.

Leonte Carroo and Ian Thomas are still top targets for the coaching staff. Then there are the Florida guys. Fred McRae, Ricardo Louis and DeAndre Jasper all have trips planned to Piscataway for camp this summer. Jasper is former Rutgers great Tim Brown's cousin and McRae played one year of football with Jonathan Aiken.

Tight Ends (2): A major position of need, the Scarlet Knights showed they are willing to reach out of the tradition "State of Rutgers" to solidify the position.

Blake Jackson, from Scottsdale Community College (Scottsdale, Az.), has two years of college eligibility. Rutgers offered two weeks ago and spiked his interested because of its proximity to New York City.

St. Peters Prep tight end Michael Giacone and Chaminade Madonna's Orlando David both have teammates at Rutgers and interested in the program.

The aforementioned three are Rutgers' top targets, but Jack Schwaba also reports weekly contact with the school and an interest. Schwaba, however, grew up in the shadows of Northwestern and picked up a verbal offer last week.

Offensive Line (3-4): J.J. Denman is off the board to Penn State and Rutgers has some ground to pick up with Chris Muller after he named the Nittany Lions his leader this week.

Don't write Muller off yet, but the most realistic top targets on the offensive line are Ryan Brodie, Jim Cashman and Duaron Williams, not to mention a lineman or two who could earn an offer camping at Rutgers.

Brodie, local product and teammate of Miles Shuler, picked up his Rutgers offer nearly a year ago and has always kept the state university in high regard despite a dozen schools coming after him. Many felt Cashman's offer from Rutgers came well too late, but he told last week that he did not feel that way. The Haddonfield High product is up to 25 offers. Williams, from Orlando, told that the Knights are "really high" on his list.

The Archbishop Wood teammates of Frank Taylor and Brandon Arcidiacono are other names to keep an eye on. Taylor wants to decide by Aug. 1 and Arcidiacono, a center, could decide before the season. Peoples, a teammate at Archbishop Wood, picked up some recruiting tips from Shuler after his commitment and he is recruiting both of his teammates.

Special Teams (1)

Rutgers, without question, needs a kicker. San San Te is done after this season and Anthony DiPaula, the probable starting punter, is the only other kicker under scholarship. But he was brought in to punt.

Kicker Ross Martin picked up an offer from Rutgers last week and is the top target at the position.

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