An eight-game skid and four shutout losses sum up a brutal 2-9 overall record and 0-8 mark in Big Ten play for Rutgers in coach Chris Ash's first year.
But the Scarlet Knights have a shot to enter the offseason on a positive note and play the spoiler against Maryland (5-6, 2-6).
“We had that motivation (playing the spoiler) last week playing Penn State and we’ve got it this week against Maryland,” Ash said. “They’re trying to play for bowl eligibility and we’re trying to just win a game and send ourselves into the offseason with positive momentum. So there’s a little bit of that, both of those things there.”
Recruiting never stops, but when Rutgers returns to the offseason Sunday, the speed of will certainly intensify.
Between the 18 current commits in the class of 2017 and the expected departures after the season with transfers and graduating seniors, Ash understands he will have holes to fill.
With that in mind, Ash said Rutgers would be open to junior college prospects and graduate transfers from other schools, specifically at positions such as wide receiver.
“There are certain positions that are of more important needs right now,” Ash said. “Like wide receiver is a position where we’re losing a lot of guys. We’ve got to basically refill the cover there and if there’s a grad transfer we think could come in and help us, we would definitely look at him.
“Junior college needs, we’ll look at some but we’re not going to fill the roster with junior college guys. So we’ll look at basically everything that’s out there that we feel can upgrade us and move us forward.”
Ash already has experience with recruiting both junior college prospects and graduate transfers. Rutgers took defensive back Ross Douglas from Michigan and quarterback Zach Allen from TCU as graduate transfers. Kobe Marfo came from Reedley (Calif.) Junior College.
With that in mind, Ash knows what type of gamble those types of additions can be.
“It’s hit or miss,” he said. “It’s like anything else. There’s no exact science to getting a high school player, fifth-year grad transfer or junior college kid. It’s really about the individual and it’s all different. Does he have the character, the work ethic, commitment? Is he going to fit in your locker room? Does he really fill a need that you have? So I think you have to look at each situation differently.
“I’ve been around junior college players that work out great, I’ve been around ones that don’t. I’ve been around fifth-year transfers that work out great — like Russell Wilson (at Wisconsin) — I’ve been around ones that don’t. I think it’s all situational and you really have to take a look at the individual that you’re recruiting and see if he really fits.”