For the first time in the Chris Ash era, Rutgers football has a major official visit presence in Manhattan.
While Rutgers basketball battles with No. 15 Wisconsin on the floor of Madison Square Garden, Ash and his visitors sat in the third row.
“You're going to New York City,” Ash said before tipoff. “It's exciting. Our basketball team is in the same process that we are. They're building. We want to show them just the overall fan support, not just the students, overall fan support is there for Rutgers.”
Ash brought the majority of his staff, including coordinators Jerry Kill, Vince Okruch and Jay Niemann, along with family and unofficial visitors. New York may not be a consistent part of the visit schedule, but it is an option under the right circumstances.
“I want to show them the enthusiasm and excitement of Rutgers fans coming here, just what's available here in this area,” Ash said. “Some of the people in this region have been here, but some of the recruits have not been in this area, are not from this area, are getting the chance to come and experience New York a little bit. We're excited about our basketball team and the job coach [Steve] Pikiell is doing. We wanted to bring our players and some of the recruits out here.”
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The New York pitch is commonplace for Rutgers in recruiting. A trip to Dave and Busters or ESPN Zone was a traditional part of visit weekends for other Rutgers staffs.
For Ash, who has multiple recruits on visits with a serious interest in business, it is about the connections and relationships.
“Really, for life after football, this is obviously the greatest city in the world and the opportunities here are endless. If you come to Rutgers, you have success, a lot of doors will be opened for you.”