Sciotoville (Ohio) Portsmouth East four-star tackle Blaine Scott is two weeks away from a verbal commitment with Rutgers on even ground as a finalist.
Scott announced his top five schools as Rutgers, Michigan State, Duke, Arkansas and Ole Miss. All five remain contenders. Four of Scott's finalists experienced losing seasons in 2016, but the 6-foot-5 bookend cares more about relationships and academics.
“A lot of kids will just look at their record and blow them off, but being up there (at Rutgers) and actually seeing it, I really do believe there's a big-time culture change going on up there,” Scott said. “… Going up there and seeing the university and how much love there is from fans, is good.”
Scott's decision comes one month after he unofficially visited Rutgers for spring practice. His visit marked the first meeting between himself and head coach Chris Ash.
“I had talked to him on the phone a couple of times, but he's a very good guy,” Scott said. “He knows what he wants out of his players. You're going to get his best every single day. He's sold on Rutgers, and he wants to change the culture and the program.”
A long-term relationship with assistant head coach AJ Blazek drew Scott to campus.
“Me and coach Blaz have been talking for a few years now,” he said. “We really hit it off. We really respect and love each other. He's an awesome coach and mentor. He's just a phenomenal person in general. He's a heck of a coach, too. A lot of people respect him and have love for him.”
Jerry Kill's Rutgers offense intrigues Scott, but the lineman has no preference in overall scheme or play style.
“I'm just ready to put my finger in the dirt and just block somebody,” Scott said. “As far as blocking goes, I love zone-scheme blocking styles, which me and coach Blazek have talked a lot about. I can run pro style, spread, really it doesn't matter to me. I'm just ready to play some football.”