Kyle Flood opened a Thursday speech in Cherry Hill, N.J., with a long list of Rutgers players that had something in common.
Rutgers does not have any early commitments from South Jersey in the 2016 class, but the 856 area code is a priority.
“From year to year, as you look at the prospects in the state, sometimes there’s more in South Jersey and sometimes there’s more in the central or North Jersey,” Flood said. “The most important thing is that they’re all from New Jersey. Every program that recruits well recruits well at home first. The state of Rutgers always begins in New Jersey.”
The Scarlet Knights have two projected starters from South Jersey – running back Paul James and defensive lineman Quanzell Lambert -- on their 2015 squad and six scholarship players on the roster.
“The entire state of New Jersey is critical to us in recruiting,” Flood said. “Recruiting always starts at home. We’re in South Jersey because every part of the state is important to us, and every part deserves our attention. We’ve had a tremendous history of players from South Jersey who have helped change our program over the last 15 years.”
Rutgers adds a seventh scholarship player from South Jersey this summer in Glassboro’s Ronnie James. The younger brother of the Scarlet Knights’ star running back, James stayed committed to Rutgers after an Ohio State offer came during his senior season.
“I’m really excited to have Ronnie come into our program,” Flood said. “Certainly Paul has done a nice job for us, but that was not the reason we recruited Ronnie. We think Ronnie is a defensive back who is a dynamic football player and an ultimate difference maker in our program that can help lead us to Big Ten championships.”