Like everyone else in the Rutgers 2016 class, Pennsylvania's top outside linebacker Rashawn Battle felt hesitations after the coaching change. Battle sat in limbo for most of Chris Ash's first week in charge but a productive Sunday phone call reassured him.
Battle spoke Sunday with Ash for the first time, and Rutgers sits in better standing because of it.
"I think he was relieved a little bit to talk to him," said Wallenpaupack head coach Mark Watson. "I'm the same way. I don't know what kind of guy he is. I don't know who he is. I don't want my player going somewhere I'm not comfortable and he has to feel that way too. I know to hear from [Ash] made Rashawn feel more comfortable. It made me feel bettter too."
Battle, Ash and Watson plan to set up an in-home and in-school visit before a potential official visit in late January.
"It went pretty well and I could tell that Rashawn felt good about it," Watson said. "I think after the bowl game, [Ash] is going to come and visit him and visit our school too. We're kind of waiting for that. ... I'm kind of that guy and I sure as heck don't want to put him in a situation that isn't comfortable. I'm really eager to talk to him and learn his philosophies and get a feel for how he's going to take care of my player."
Other regional progres are involved with Battle including visits to Wallenpaupack.
"There's quite a few," Watson said. "They've been coming in the school quite often now. As soon as everybody heard that coach Flood and the staff was dismissed, the phone calls started immediately. Good reason. With stuff like that happening, he doesn't want to take that chance that it isn't the right spot for him now."
Battle plans to remain strong in a Rutgers commitment until he receives more information from Ash about changes coming in Piscataway.
"We would never think of opening up the recruitment if coach [Kyle] Flood was still there because we knew what we were getting," Watson said. "We were comfortable with the staff there. With the change of regime, he's looking into a couple of other schools but I still, in my heart, feel that Rutgers is the right school for him. I just don't want to take the chance that for some reason it wouldn't be."