Coach Franklin of Dillard HS on Chris McClover

The weekend leading up to Christmas weekend provided a gift-wrapped package for Rutgers fans full of three prospects eager to continue their education and football careers at Rutgers. Two of the HS standouts hail from New Jersey, while the third is a standout performer and a bona fide Top 50 player from the state of Florida. caught up with <b>Dillard HS Coach Keith Franklin</b> to discuss <b>Chris McClover</b>'s future at Rutgers.

Chris McClover has been favorably compared to Antonio Bryant, the former standout Pitt WR currently wearing a Cleveland Browns uniform.  McClover was not a household name after finishing his junior season at Dillard HS, but his performances during this summer's camps, raised eyebrows and had many collegiate coaches taking a look.

McClover received numerous scholarship offers.  Among them, Pittsburgh and Auburn are the headline schools that top the list.  However, McClover's summer camping experience at Rutgers was enough for him to fall in love with the New Jersey school.   His official visit in early December locked him up as a future Scarlet Knight.

"He really had a very good time when he was up there the last time.  I'm a supporter of wherever Chris goes.  We'll all support him for the next four or five years and beyond," stated Coach Franklin.

The family atmosphere Coach Franklin instituted at Dillard was a main attraction of McClover's that eventually led him to Rutgers.

Franklin, grew up three blocks from Dillard and has won three district titles while coaching McArthur for the past six seasons. But the coach wanted to turn around a struggling Panthers program that had gone 3-8 the previous season.  And so, he is quite familiar with what it takes to take a team from the very bottom to higher levels.

Coach Franklin added praise for the Rutgers program, a program he believes is on the rise, and one that he can trust his pupils with for the next four or five years. 

"I think Coach Schiano is doing a great job up there - with all the facilities and all the equipment upgrades.  I was there for the summer camp and I was able to see everything closely.  It seems that he [Schiano] is doing a real good job of recruiting the Florida kids they want and need and mixing them with the Jersey kids.  He's [Schiano] definitely got that program going in the right direction."

Part of the reason why McClover chose Rutgers, over other bigger name schools, is that the RU staff was there from the beginning.  What can Scarlet Knight fans expect to see?

"Well, his size is really his main advantage.  But that's just the beginning.  He has very good hands to go along with that size and he does have 4.4 speed.  He also runs track so speed is really no concern."  But perhaps his greatest attributes, according to Coach Franklin are that "...he is very, very coachable.  He will listen and he will learn."

"When he went up to Rutgers during the summer he was very motivated and he remained that way for the rest of the year.  He is a very dedicated worker and just tries to get better every day."

Respected recruiting analyst Charles Fishbein, of of the network, ranked Chris McClover as the 36th best prospect coming out of Florida this year.  "What makes McClover special is his competitiveness to be better than the opposition.  He has great size and is a player with a ton of upside.  He is one of the premier receivers in south Florida this year.  Inside the red zone, when your offense needs a first down McClover is money. His best days are ahead of him," stated Fishbein.

With the graduation of several key Dillard HS standouts this year, including Elijah Hodge (solid Wisconsin pledge), Chris McClover, and Derrick Smith (solid La.-Lafayette pledge), who is left on the Dillard squad receiving Rutgers interest?

"I think Edwin Bradwell (LB) is thinking about Rutgers," said Coach Franklin.  The Rutgers staff is likely to receive an official visit during the month of January from the Dillard standout. 

Additionally, Dillard HS, much like the premier college programs, does not rebuild, they reload.  The team already has several D-I prospects receiving interest from a number of schools, Rutgers included.

"One of the top guys was our leading rusher this year, a running back by the name of Wayne Baynard.  Then Calvin Marshall is another guy to keep in mind.  He could be a strong safety/free safety type of player at the next level.  Also, our young quarterback, Terrall Robinson.  He's only a sophomore this year."

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