In this first installment of Rutgers Rewind, we attempt to bring Rutgers fans up to date with all of this previous week's bumps and bruises, ups and downs.
This past Sunday, Kevin Haslam, a 6-foot-7 offensive lineman out of Mahwah, New Jersey, decided to pledge to his state University. Having just come back from a trip to ACC country, it had been reported that Haslam was down to two choices: South Florida and Georgia Tech. Instead, future Rutgers quarterback Jabu Lovelace, delivered on his first completion of his young Rutgers career. "Jabu [Jabulani] Lovelace called me and he told me that he was going through the same thing. He wasn't going to go to Rutgers. He was probably going to go to Syracuse and they convinced him just to visit. He told me that all I had to do was just visit the school and that would be all I need," stated the future Scarlet Knight, Kevin Haslam.
On Monday, new reports about Cedric McGee, the wide receiver out of Plantation High School (Plantation, FL), surfaced, which stated that the Floridian was down to just two schools: Rutgers and Pittsburgh. The oddity in this particular saga was how McGee, who had not tripped to Rutgers the previous weekend due to flu symptoms, could commit and eventually sign with a school he had never been to. "I was supposed to go to Rutgers a couple of weeks ago. I haven't been on a visit there but one of my teammates, Dennis Campbell, is committed there and he has been there. He's told me how nice everything is up there. I also have some friends on the team, like Markys Facyson and Dimitri Linton and a couple of other guys."
Tuesday, evidently, served as the calm before the ensuing recruiting frenzy to follow. Rumors continued to surface, others kept silent. 365 days had passed and another Letter of Intent Day was upon us. What would Santa Claus bring to Rutgers fans this go-around?
Early Wednesday morning, Santa Claus presented Rutgers fans with the one and only surprise they would see this LOI Day. A surprise by the name of Gary Watts, an 11th hour commitment, by way of Miami Norland HS (Miami, FL). Watts, ranked as the 59th DE prospect in the country by Scout.com, was wooed by South Florida, but at the very end, decided Rutgers would serve him better.
LOI Day continued, without much glamour. The faxes came in, as expected, save for Bruce Williams, a previously soft commitment to Rutgers, who decided he would instead attend Syracuse.
Drawing LOI Day to a dissatisfactory conclusion was another letdown performance by the men's basketball team. Despite an early 10 point lead in a rather low-scoring affair, the Scarlet Knights let another game slip away, this time to the St. John's Red Storm. Rutgers would squander a 3 point lead with 44 ticks left before falling to the Johnies at Madison Square Garden.
Thursday dawned with mixed reactions. The local papers, negative, as per the usual, brought another dose of recruiting doom-and-gloom to Scarlet Knight fans: Schiano spins another recruiting class, was one article's title, which as it happened, had no mention of an author (at least not in the on-line version). Adrian Wojo spat forth his typical inane drivel, the kind of empty rhetoric perfectly fit for post-LOI day commentary (As an aside is it mere coincidence that Wojo's articles just happen to appear post-LOI [day] or post-verbal commitments - Did Wojo have a column appearing after MSU? Fair and balanced? You decide).
The nightcap to this Thursday was a Big East showdown between perennial conference power Connecticut and Coach Stringer's Scarlet Knights. The Giant Killers, unfortunately, seem to have an issue with slaying Geno's Huskies. Since Coach Stringer's arrival on the Banks, Rutgers has defeated Uconn a total of ... 1 time. Hardly a rivalry, this sounds more like complete ownership. Rutgers would drop their second Big East game of the season and would now await their next match-up with the vaunted, and once again dangerous, Uconn Huskies. But lacking confidence is one thing RU fans do not have to worry about in regards to their women's team: "If I were them, I wouldn't be too confident," Coach Stringer would say in a post-game interview (Rutgers: Stringer vows rematch will be different/Star-Ledger 02/04/2005), boldly predicting that things would be different the next time around.
After a week full of events, some good and some bad, some altogether surprising, and some not, Friday came and went barely on anyone's radar screen.
Preparations are underway for the Super Bowl, to be held this Sunday, where Rutgers' own "Little John" Smith, awaits.
The Rutgers men's squad, in front of another sold-out RAC, will host Georgetown this Saturday, at 7PM, while Coach Stringer's team (15-5, 6-2) will try to not look ahead as they host the Syracuse Orange (it still doesn't sound right) this Sunday at 2PM.
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