Prospects with interest in the new Rutgers swarmed to campus over the last week to see the changes. One visitor, Wayne (N.J.) Passaic Tech athlete Jermaine Wilder said the personal connections set Chris Ash’s staff apart from past experiences.
Wilder has Rutgers visit experience, including a game during the 2015 season, but his junior day was a new experience.
“I’ve been to Rutgers before but I haven’t seen these details before,” Wilder said. “It was a different type of Rutgers. It was a high-intensity environment. I knew exactly what they were about and how they want to make a better name for Rutgers. They want to win, but they also want their players to graduate. If the NFL is out of reach, their kids will still get good jobs.”
The Rutgers staff stood out based on its communication abilities with the 2017 class.
“It was a great environment,” Wilder said. “There’s a lot of good kids out there. There’s a community where there’s just good communication with the coaches. I felt like we were building a bond and everything.
“These coaches are different but they all have the same goal. [Cornerbacks] coach Aaron Henry, especially, we relate a lot. What I’m going through as a young adult preparing for college, he went through the same thing and was successful. My background is the same. [Defensive backs coach Bill] Busch is a very straightforward guy. He’s very funny. They were real with me.”
Rutgers likes Wilder as a defensive back and will be at Passaic Tech during the spring evaluation period when it comes to a potential scholarship offer. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound athlete visited Rutgers alongside four-star tackle teammate Carter Warren.
“I liked seeing players from everywhere, especially because it was all about New Jersey juniors,” Wilder said. “I got to see a lot of Jersey kids. It was very cool to see these kids that are being recruited and to see the competition.”
Wilder visits Penn State and Monmouth at the end of February.
“I’m looking for an education first,” he said. “That’s before football. I want to know I can succeed in that program, not just as a football player.”