Rutgers Ready to Push West

Rutgers finalized its staff this week, and has a strong number of local visitors heading to campus Saturday. In addition to the normal recruiting areas, Rutgers and coach Kyle Flood aim to use natural ties to Ohio and the Midwest in building the class of 2015.

Michigan, Texas, Minnesota and North Carolina all became parts of the Rutgers recruiting base in the 2014 class. Coach Kyle Flood made staff moves with the expanding recruiting base in mind, and Ohio could be the next stop with the addition of receivers coach Ben McDaniels.

Recruiting starts with relationships, and McDaniels has natural ones. His father, Thom McDaniels, is a hall of fame high school coach in Ohio, which is a state filled with Big Ten talent.

"Our recruiting will always start in the state of Rutgers and the state of Rutgers always begins right here at home in New Jersey," said Rutgers coach Kyle Flood. "With that being said, I don't think you ever want to lose an opportunity to take advantage of relationships. Both Mitch [Browning] and Ben have a lot of home-grown relationships in the state of Ohio."

McDaniels and Browning both have ties to the Midwest, and a past working relationship to go with it.

Browning hired McDaniels as a graduate assistant during his long-standing time at Minnesota. Now they are set to work side-by-side as position coaches under Flood.

"I hired him sight unseen," Browning said. "I knew his dad for a long time. His dad's a tremendous high-school coach in the state of Ohio for geez, over 30 years. …The one thing about recruiting and hiring coaches, you can't go wrong hiring a guy that's the son of a high school coach or a college coach."

Recruiting experience was a question mark for McDaniels with a background based primarily in the NFL. McDaniels recruited on campus during his stint as a GA with Minnesota.

The former Kent State quarterback coached for one season at Columbia after his departure from the Denver Broncos – his lone experience as a full-time college assistant and recruiter.

"It was just a short stint there at Columbia, but I just got my feet wet a little bit getting back to college football at that point," McDaniels said. "I'm excited about the opportunity to recruit and build relationships with kids and their families and having the opportunity to help young kids grow both as young men and as players."

Browning spent time on the road as a recruiter after joining the staff in December. McDaniels and other hires, however, get their first big recruiting chance this weekend.

The Scarlet Knights will have double-digit prospects on campus to get an in-depth look at the school. Flood avoided scheduling any underclassman visit days until the staff reached its completion.

Filling the Rutgers staff with GA's Mike Teel and Michael Zuckerman, Flood is eager to get prospects in the Hale Center.

"I think to have those weekends before your staff is intact, I don't know if that really would have been in our best interest," Flood said. "We're going to have some people on campus in the next couple weeks, and I'm really excited.

"I think when these recruits come on campus, they're going to see the things they know we already have. They're going to see great facilities. They're going to see a beautiful stadium. They're going to see a great campus environment. They already know they're going to get a great education. But now they get to see the most important, which is the people. And now we've got a full staff with great people."

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