A key piece of recruiting for not only the 2016 class, but the next few will take place Friday and Saturday at Rutgers, and it has nothing to do with prospects being on campus.
It is the annual coaches clinic, and high school coaches from some of the top talent-producing New Jersey schools will be in attendance as well as some surrounding states.
Among the 100-plus coaches expected to attend are coaches from Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic, Monmouth Junction (N.J.) South Brunswick, Montclair (N.J.) High, Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII, Brooklyn (N.J.) Grand Street, Metuchen (N.J.) High and Wallenpaupack (Pa.) High. The Scarlet Knights have offered a player from each of those schools.
“When you’re able to identify players as freshmen or sophomores, this is how you do it,” Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said. “This is ultimately how it works. It’s not happening by accident. It’s happening because you are spending time with these coaches above and beyond what happens in the recruiting cycle.”
And although NCAA rules prohibit Flood from speaking about prospects, he said having high school coaches on campus helps out both sides.
“To have those kind of football minds on our campus really does a lot for us,” Flood said. “There is a flow of information that goes both ways. It gives us an opportunity to showcase our program to them so they get a real-time snapshot of what we are.
“They’re going to see us practice twice. They’re going to have individual sessions with our coaches in the classroom and then we’ll have other time to spend with them as well.”
And there is a huge by-product that come of the time spent together.
“Like everything else in college athletics, it’s about relationships,” Flood said. “If you want to get great information, you have to have great relationships. I know that this clinic is great for the high school coaches here in New Jersey, and it is great for us as a coaching staff us at Rutgers.”
Also set to attend is Canton McKinley coach Thom McDaniels, the father of Rutgers offensive coordinator Ben McDaniels.