Shoreham (N.Y.) Wading River 2017 lineman Ethan Wiederkehr was familiar with Rutgers before a Friday visit but he saw a new side to the program when he arrived.
Wiederkehr earned an offer from the previous coaching staff during a summer lineman camp. While the 6-foot-6, 285-pound prospect went through his own physical changes as a junior on Long Island, Rutgers turned over leadership to coach Chris Ash.
“The facilities, there are little changes or details here and there but the attitude, I think, is changed a lot,” Wiederkehr said. “They’re trying to get to a championship mode. They really want to compete at the highest level they can. They’re really working hard with their new setup.”
Initially offered as a defensive end, Wiederkehr said Rutgers and most schools like him as an offensive line prospect. He has no preference.
Wiederkehr received a tour of the campus and the Rutgers football facilities during an afternoon in New Jersey. He met with the majority of the staff, including Ash and offensive line coach AJ Blazek.
“My visit was great, and I got to meet the new coaching staff,” he said. “I think they’ve got something special going on over there. Coach Ash is trying to make a more up-tempo offense, and the new strength coach is really getting them in shape. They’re all working hard there, so I think they’re going to have a great season.”
Blazek is a former Iowa offensive lineman and he connected with Wiederkehr during their first meeting.
“He’s great,” Wiederkehr said. “He’s a very energetic, positive guy and I’d be more than happy to play for him.”
The Long Islander also enjoyed another meeting with graduate assistant Scott Vallone, who played for Central Islip (N.Y.) St. Anthony’s a decade ago.
“He’s the best,” he said. “They’re all energetic up there, it seems, but him being from Long Island, it’s easy to relate to him. We have a connection there. He’s a really nice guy.”
Boston College, Maryland, Connecticut and Virginia host Wiederkehr next week on his visit tour.
“I’m not going to decide any time soon, either late summer or at the end of my senior year,” Wiederkehr said. “I’m not sure when, but it will be later.”