Pernetti Works As Recruits Preach Solidarity

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti took the unusual step to become certified as an assistant football coach after Greg Schiano left for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he spent the night talking to the Scarlet Knights' committed prospects. has their reactions, their commitment status and the results of a big Pennsylvania meeting.

In the hours after Greg Schiano accepted the head coaching position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti turned into one of the faces of the Scarlet Knights program.

After naming offensive line coach Kyle Flood the interim coach, Pernetti spoke to each of the prospects committed to Rutgers during evening phone calls, and also spoke to family members of several recruits.

Pernetti took the unusual step of becoming an NCAA-certified member of the staff so he can contact recruits. It is not a permanent position.

None of the 16 unsigned and committed prospects decommitted, and sources said the initial reaction from each of the prospects were they would remain with the Scarlet Knights.

A big meeting took place in Pennsylvania where the committed prospect met. It was set to include Boyertown (Pa.) High offensive lineman Chris Muller, Bloomsburg (Pa.) High quarterback Blake Rankin, Archbishop Wood High (Warminster, Pa.) running back Desmon Peoples and center Brandon Arcidiacono and Pennsbury High (Fairless Hills, Pa.) J.J. Denman.

"It went well," People said. "We had a great time and we're all staying at RU."

Earlier in the day, Muller spoke about his decision.

"I talked with my family and I'm staying," Muller said. "It's where I want to be. "I think there are a lot of guys that are staying," Muller said. "Most of the guys I've talked to still believe."

Arcidiacono echoed those sentiments.

"I never left," Arcidiacono said. "I still believe in what I committed to and I think making coach Flood the interim coach is a great step."

However, the newest member of Rutgers' class, Long Branch (N.J.) High's Ryan Brodie, was shaken by the news. He remains committed to Rutgers, but learned about Schiano's departure from the Connecticut coaching staff.

Pittsburgh's staff also called to check in on Brodie.

"He was so relieved yesterday to get the process over with," said Brodie's dad, Bryan. "We have to sit down and re-evaluate this decision, and see which direction he wants to go."

Another of the jewels of the class is Timber Creek Regional High (Erial, N.J.) middle linebacker Quanzell Lambert.

"He hasn't decommitted," Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson said. "He is still hanging in there to see the direction the school is going with a new coach."

Saddlebrook (N.J.) High linebacker Steve Longa said he is contemplating a weekend official visit to Boston College, but remains committed to Rutgers.

Linden (N.J.) High receiver Ruhann Peele said as long as receivers coach P.J. Flecks stays, he would be signing with Rutgers. But he was stunned at the news Schiano was leaving.

"That's crazy," he said. "I guess he's doing what's best for him and his family. I look at it like this; if coach Fleck stays, I'm cool, but I will ball out anyway with him there or not. It's disappointing, but what can you do? It's part of the business."

In fact, reached out to each recruit, or a person close to the recruit, and was told each one is telling Rutgers they are staying committed. But Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) receiver Leonte Carroo is slated to make an official visit to Miami this weekend with five-star defensive lineman Darius Hamilton, who was down to Rutgers and Florida before the coaching change.

Rutgers also continues to recruit four-star quarterback Devin Fuller of Northern Valley Old Tappan (N.J.) High and Franklin High (Reisterstown, Md.) receiver Ian Thomas, who said Rutgers remains under consideration.

St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) tight end Michael Giacone committed in July, and he was the third player in two years to commit to Rutgers. And while Marauders coach Rich Hansen understands the move, the fact it is so close to signing day left him feeling uneasy.

"The timing of it is disconcerting," he said. "As a high school coach, there is a trickledown effect to everybody, and we're in the middle of it.

"I told (Rutgers freshman) Savon (Huggins) this morning not to panic and let the dust settle and evaluate where things are in a few days and then we will have a conversation of where it is."

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