Kyle Flood: -- I'd like to start by congratulating the players, and congratulating [assistant director of academic support] Jenna Beverly, who heads the support system for football, and her staff. They do a wonderful job. I think it's another sign that the culture we're building of Rutgers football is one that the university can be proud of.
Q: -- What does this mean with your transition to the Big Ten?
KF: -- It's important for us. I felt all along when invited to the Big Ten, that it really was the conference we fit into. I felt that the value systems we have in place as a university and as a football program fit with what the Big Ten conference is looking for – excellence in athletics and excellence in academics. We've always preached both of those. I think you can have both of those. I think now, with the sevenths straight year being in the top percent of the APR, it's just one more sign that the conference we're moving into is right for us.
Q: -- How much dedication do your players show to accomplish this?
KF: -- I think it's something that the older players in your program have to model for the younger players in your program. Jenna and her staff, they do a tremendous job. The coaches do an excellent job of making sure that we support the academic support system and faculty on campus. I think one of the most important parts of this process is to have the older players in your program modeling the system for the younger players – understanding how important it is to be in class to make sure you're ready to go in study halls and to take full advantage of what is a very well put together support system.
Q: -- How integral has this APR success become to your recruiting pitch?
KF: -- I think everything matters. The players we want to attract to Rutgers University are players that not only value excellence on the football field, but value getting their education. This is one more thing that we can point to … that very few programs can. We're proud of it. We certainly put it right out in the front of what we talk about in the program. Any time you can have a third party validate what you are doing, I think it always helps you.
Q: -- On the topic of education, what are your thoughts on Eric LeGrand getting his diploma and speaking at graduation?
KF: -- I never had any doubt that, along the way, Eric would graduate. I would see him in the study halls in the Hale Center and being a part of my radio show every week – those are things we always talk about. I'm proud of him. It will be another accomplishment along the way of many accomplishments that he will achieve in his life.
I don't know that there could be a better speaker for those graduates to hear than Eric LeGrand. I know that he'll do a tremendous job delivering the message, and him being up there is a great example for students at our university of how to overcome obstacles that are in your way.
Eric getting his degree this year is something that we're proud of, but it's just one more step along the way of what will be many, many more accomplishments to come for Eric LeGrand.
Q: -- Is this success more about the people or the system?
KF: -- I think it's always both. I think it would be hard to do one thing without the other. I can't speak to what happens at other programs but I do know this. During the recruiting process, we spend a lot of time trying to make sure the players we get in our program are ones that are going to be right for our culture – our culture in the locker room, our culture on the football field and then our culture in the classroom.
I think the more you can find out about those players in the recruiting process, the better chance you have of getting people that will help you achieve things like the success we've had in the APR over the last seven years and the success we've had recently in the last four semesters for our GPA. It's currently climbing, and hopefully as we get the grades here at the end of the semester, at the end of the summer, we can get over that 3.0 mark which we've put out in front as a goal for us. Along the way, to have 43 members of our team over a 3.0 for the fall semester and 24 of them over a 3.5.
We're really excited about all of the things we've done. I don't think all of that happens without getting the right people in our program, and I don't think it happens without having a great plan for them once they get here.