While fans wonder why Rutgers does not have a single commitment in its 2018 class, coach Chris Ash is unfazed in front of the camera.
“I’m not concerned about that one bit,” Ash said. “You look back last year — we had one kid that was committed (Naijee Jones). He was committed before we ever got here. I’m worried about commitments on the first Wednesday in February.
“Why hasn’t anyone committed? Because no one’s committed, it’s simple as that. But I’m not concerned one bit about commitments in April. I’m concerned about them in February.”
The momentum rolled for Rutgers and its 2017 class between May and June of last year. By Signing Day, the Scarlet Knights signed 29 recruits.
By now, Ash knows the factors that play a role in recruiting. A pivotal window in recruiting comes with the spring evaluation period, which starts Saturday and runs through May 31.
Between that and the spring game next Saturday, Ash is excited for what both will bring.
“I’m really excited about (the spring game and spring evaluation), but probably more excited about getting on the road and getting the evaluation process going,” he said. “We’ve had a ton of recruits on campus throughout the spring practice period, and that’s really what we want.”
Ash explained that while the spring game’s atmosphere is important to recruits, more gets done when they visit for practices over the course of spring camp.
“The spring game is great and all that stuff, but I love to have them here to watch us practice, get a chance to sit in meetings, get a chance for us to spend time with them,” Ash said. “Can’t do that stuff in the spring game. We don’t have meetings, there’s so much going on. It’s hard to get a chance to meet with them individually, especially if a bunch of them show up. So I hope we have a great environment — Spring Fever with the band and all that stuff. Hopefully, it’s a beautiful day out and a lot of people come and creates a great environment for the recruits to see.
“But we’ve really pushed hard to get them here to our practice days so they can just be like a player, be in the meetings and go through our daily routine so they can see what it looks like.”
With construction underway adjacent to High Point Solutions Stadium, Ash will soon be able to host recruits on the new grass practice fields. For Ash, there is already buzz around the progress of the facility.
“When they started, they got the machines up there and they started to tear stuff down, it was amazing how quick it went to get that old grass out and get those old lights out,” Ash said. “… It’s just cool to see that something’s happening and you know that it’s actually going to come to fruition here for us, sooner than later. And I’m really excited for us, our players are excited about it, and it’s going to be a real great tool for us to go out and practice on some grass.”