Rutgers takes its family approach seriously in recruiting. After weekend-long visits to campus for committed prospects like Wayne (N.J.) Hills receiver Tyler Hayek, they felt like family by the end of the trip.
Instead of fancy meals or trips to New York, Rutgers took a different approach Sunday with an invitation into coach Chris Ash's home.
“You feel close with all of the coaches,” Hayek said. “I felt close with everyone. Then when we went to his house, all of the families were there. I was playing with their kids and meeting all of their families. You feel even closer getting to know everybody. Plus his house was amazing.”
Ash's home was just as big of a hit with the parents.
“My whole family came, and it felt really comfortable for them meeting everyone and their families and doing it at the head coach's house,” Hayek said. “It's like that high-school feeling where it's not just about football. It's not you and your boss. It's more like a friend … a friend that will start yelling at me in practice.”
“Nakia was really cool,” Tyler Hayek said. “I like him a lot. He showed me everything around campus. He showed me the ins and outs of what you have to do on t he football side, and also what it's like as a regular student.”
As a planned pre-med student, the academics were key for Hayek.
“They had the whole rundown on tutors and times and study halls and all of that,” Hayek said. “I want to do medicine, so tutors are going to be big for me and will help out a lot.”
The aspiring doctor found plenty of time for fun, too. The skill players toasted the linemen in laser tag.
“I felt like a little kid with all of these big dudes running around,” Hayek said. “All of the recruits and our hosts were playing. We destroyed the linemen. They're too big targets.”