From the perspective of a top 2017 defensive lineman in New Jersey, incoming freshman Sam Howson is a late steal for the Scarlet Knights in recruiting. Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII three-star defensive tackle Dalyn Wade-Perry called Howson one of his toughest competitors while teammates last season.
Now Howson becomes another recruiter for Wade-Perry at Rutgers when he begins a college career next month with summer classes.
"He understands the process, so he isn't on me too hard or bothering me about it," Wade-Perry said. "He understands that it's about the right fit. I think he's going to be great for them. I've gone against him in practice every day. He's one of the best linemen I've gone against."
The Rutgers coaching staff visited Pope John in January to check in on Wade-Perry and other underclassmen. They left, however, with a late recruiting target. Rutgers offered Howson shortly after an in-home visit, and Howson committed in the final week before National Signing Day.
"I'm extremely happy for him," Wade-Perry said. "That's one of my best friends, so I'm glad that he's going to play at Rutgers. I was excited to find out. It was down to the wire and he was looking at a few 1-AAs and then Rutgers came through like that. It was exciting."
Wade-Perry remains a priority target for Rutgers and other programs. He most recently saw Rutgers in-depth during the spring game.
"I think the new coaching staff is doing an excellent job," Wade-Perry said. "They've changed the mentality of guys and changed the work ethic. They eat better. They train harder. It's top tier compared to the way it used to be."
Wade-Perry has plenty of visit plans for after the end of his junior year with Pope John.
"Everything is going well," he said. "A lot of schools have been coming by since the start of the evaluation period, and it helped me get a few trips planned out.I'm getting ready for Notre Dame and Stanford. Things are falling into place. I'm extremely excited to get out to some of these places and see what they're all about, see all of the hype and start pairing down my options."
It was cool. The coaches showed a lot of love. It was fun hanging out with other Jersey recruits and getting to meet with them. The team looked good. They were getting after it.