Rutgers Recruiting Needs -- Part 8

The 2006 recruiting class constitutes Greg Schiano's sixth class at Rutgers. February 1, 2006 was college football's national Letter of Intent Day. Schiano received signed LOIs from 25 players. The first seven articles in this series identified the returning players, their prospects to contribute, and the recruiting needs for each position. This article prioritizes those needs in context of the number of available scholarships and looks at how new recruits filled the numerical needs.

RUTGERS RECRUITING NEEDS
Part 8:  The Big Picture


The 2006 recruiting class constitutes Head Coach Greg Schiano's sixth class at Rutgers.  With five classes already in or through the program, Schiano is now filling gaps in a roster that he has shaped.  Schiano's recruiting momentum appeared to peak in 2005 after Rutgers stumbled to a very disappointing 4-7 record in 2004.  Such a peaking effectively gave Schiano two years to produce the turnaround that he had promised before the talent already in the pipeline departed.  Greg substantially delivered upon that promise with a 7-5 (4-3 Big East) record and Insight Bowl appearance last year.  The positive buzz surrounding the program restored the lost recruiting momentum, especially in New Jersey, where recruits had been growing increasingly skeptical.  February 1, 2006 was college football's national Letter of Intent Day.  The first day that recruits could sign with the college of their choice.  Schiano received signed LOIs from 25 players.  The first seven articles in this series identified the returning players, their prospects to contribute, and the recruiting needs for each position.  This article prioritizes those needs in context of the number of available scholarships and looks at how new recruits filled the numerical needs.  Since I have not seen any of the recruits play, I won't be offering commentary on the quality of this class.  As with any class, at any school, that remains to be seen. 


CURRENT ROSTER

The NCAA limits Division IA football rosters to 85 scholarship players.  That is only five scholarships shy of a four-deep roster with two scholarship kickers.  By my count, there are 61 returning scholarship players, at most, on the roster.  That is seven players shy of a three-deep spring roster.  The 61 players do not include Sr FB Justise Hairston or Fr LB Damaso Munoz.  Hairston was suspended from the program before the last game of the regular season and reportedly will transfer at the end of the spring semester.  Munoz apparently was an academic non-qualifier last year because he was not listed on the roster.  I also have excluded, as scholarship players, Iowa transfers RS So WR James Townsend and RS So DT George Eshareturi, both of whom walked-on and must earn their rides next year.  I have included walk-on Jr DT Joe Giacobbe as a scholarship players because he contributed on the two-deep last year.  The placekicking and punting jobs are secure with So Jeremy Ito and RS Jr P Joe Radigan.  Schiano does not need to recruit another scholarship punter but, rather, can start looking at walk-ons that can redshirt next year and succeed Radigan in 2007.  The returning roster is presented below. The "Roster" count includes contributors and unknowns (youngsters who could yet contribute) but does not include players not expected to contribute in the future.  This serves to identify that units that may be more in need an infusion of talent than merely an influx of bodies.   


Position

 

Contributors

 

Non-Contributors

 

Unknown

 

Roster

 

Three-Deep

QB

0

0

2

2

3

OL

4

1

6

10

15

RB

2

0

3

5

6

REC

6

2

3

9

9

DL

6

0

6

12

12

LB

3

1

2

5

9

DB

6

1

5

11

12

K

2

0

0

2

2

Totals

29

5

27

56

68

 

CLASS SIZE

NCAA rules also limit the size of a recruiting class to no more than 25 players per year.  Based upon the current 61-man roster, Schiano can bring 24 recruits to summer camp.  Therefore, I will prioritize the recruiting needs with respect to a class size of 24.  However, Schiano can sign a class of at least 26 recruits because the current 61-man roster is not cast in stone and one recruit – OL Mo Lange – is a spring enrollee who counts against the 2005 recruiting class.  The expected departure of Hairston illustrates the reality of roster instability.  As does the uncertain status of Munoz, Townsend, and Eshareturi.  Academic ineligibility, transfers, career-ending injuries, or dismissals could further whittle the roster while academic ineligibility can thin the size of the recruiting class, effectively allowing Schiano to sign more than 26 recruits for the 2006 class.  The current roster contains at least two specific players whose futures are uncertain due to these possibilities.  Two additional losses could reduce the scholarship roster to 59 and would give Schiano at least 26 scholarships to award.  Schiano has already signed a class of 25 players.  Meaning, he expects attrition to reduce his existing roster and/or incoming class by at least one player – four if the Munoz, Townsend, and Eshareturi earn scholarships. 


RECRUITING NEEDS

Let's evaluate the current roster with regards to a full roster.  A four-deep roster plus two scholarship kickers would be 90 players – five over the 85 scholarship limit.  The four-deep must first be pared down to a "standard" 85-man roster.   

  • QBs take time to develop and, given their vulnerability, require three available players.  Allowing a fourth QB in a redshirt.  Assume a standard allotment of four. 
  • OL require even more development time than QBs. The success rate with OL is also probably the lowest of any position because their development is the most difficult to project.  But OL rarely play even two-deep.  Therefore, a full allotment isn't necessary.  Assume a standard allotment of 18. 
  • RBs absorb punishment that necessitates depth to a third level.  However, they don't require development time since RB is one position where a true freshman can contribute.  Assume a standard allotment of eight.   
  • Multiple receiver formations – 3WR, 4WR, and 2TE – require depth and draw upon reserves.  While freshman WRs can contribute immediately, TEs require time to physically develop and learn the fundamentals of blocking.  Assume 4 TEs and 7 WRs. 
  • DL, like OL, require development time.  Unlike OL, Schiano rotates his DL at least two deep as a preference, three if possible.  Therefore, a full allotment of 16 is necessary. 
  • LBs require less development time than DL and are rotated nearly as deeply, in theory.  Therefore, a full allotment of 12 is necessary. 
  • DBs, like receivers, must fill multiple defensive formations – base, nickel, and dime packages.  Also like WRs, DBs can play immediately as freshman.  Therefore, a full allotment is not necessary.  Assume 14. 
  • More than two scholarship kickers are not necessary.


The following table compares a the existing useful roster, which excludes players not expected to contribute in their careers, to a "standard" full roster.  

 

Position

Four Deep

Useful Roster

Surplus/(Shortfall)

QB

4

2

(2)

OL

18

10

(8)

RB

8

5

(3)

REC

11

9

(2)

DL

16

12

(4)

LB

12

5

(7)

DB

14

11

(3)

K

2

2

0

Totals

85

56

(29)

 

The LB corps (58% of  "establishment"), OLine (55%), and QBs (50%) are the most depleted units on the roster.  Based upon those evaluations, the minimum needs for each position group are summarized below:

  • Two QBs (one JUCO)
  • Five OL
  • Two TBs, one FB
  • One WR, two TEs
  • Two DEs, two DTs
  • Five LBs
  • One CB, one Safety
  • No Kickers


2006 RECRUITING CLASS

The minimum size of the 2006 recruiting class is 24.  Schiano has already signed a full 25.  He could add another because Mo Lange counts against the 2005 class.  Schiano further has two eligible transfers and a non-qualifier returning that could earn scholarships. That's a maximum of 29 incoming scholarship players.  Here is a comparison of the 2006 class versus the perceived needs:

  • QBs – Schiano needed to sign two QBs in the class, preferably with one JUCO to add some desperately needed experience to the unit.  Greg signed Tom Lang of Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts and Chris Paul-Etienne of Miami Edison Senior HS in Miami, Florida.  While Schiano filled the gap in his depth chart, he has not mitigated his experience shortage. 
  • OL – Schiano needed to sign five OL in the class.  Greg signed Mo Lange of Hillsborough HS in Hillsborough, NJ and Marlon Romulus of Memorial HS in Floral Park, NY.  After badly neglecting his OLine during his first two years at Rutgers, Schiano has again ignored this unit even though it one of the most depleted units on the team.  As currently structured, Rutgers will enter the 2003 season with less than a three-deep on its OLine.  Schiano is flirting with disaster.  Again. 
  • RBs – Schiano needed to sign two TBs – a strong, fast TB who can run inside, run outside, and catch passes plus a third down specialist – as well as an athletic FB.  Greg signed TB Kordell Young of West Deptford HS in Westville, NJ; FB Jack Corcoran of St. Joseph HS in Hammonton, NJ; and FB Edmond Laryea of Tottenville HS in Staten Island, NY.  At 5-9 and 185 pounds, Young may better fit the scat back role.  Schiano failed to address a glaring need for a backup TB who can play every down.  He is one injury away from big trouble in the backfield. 
  • Receivers – Schiano needed to sign one WR and two TEs in the class.  He has signed three WRs – Kenny Britt of Bayonne HS in Bayonne, NJ; Tim Brown of Miami Northwestern HS in Miami, FL; and Shamar Graves of Woodbridge HS in Woodbridge, NJ as well as two TEs – Jesse Cisco of the Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, NJ and Jeff Minemeyer of Bishop Carroll HS in Ebensburg, PA.  With five recruits, it would appear that Schiano went overboard at receiver.  His roster will be over-weighted with WRs, as it has been for several years. 
  • DL – Schiano needed to sign two DEs and two DTs in this class.  Greg has signed four DL – DE Matthew Hardison of Freehold Township HS in Freehold, NJ; DT Charlie Noonan of St. Josephs Prep School in Philadelphia, PA; DE Markus White of John I. Leonard HS in Lake Worth, FL; and DT Eric Wilson of Hibbing Community College (MN).  With four DL recruits, plus six LBs – some of who could be converted to DE as has been Schiano's habit, it would appear that Schiano has plenty of DL in the pipeline. 
  • LBs – Schiano needed to sign five LBs in this class.  He actually signed six LBs – Sorie Bayoh of Gulliver Prep School in Miami, FL; Blair Bines of William Floyd HS in Shirley, NY; Ryan D'Imperio of Washington Township HS in Sewell, NJ; Antonio Lowery of Christopher Columbus HS in Miami, FL; Andres Morales of Bethlehem Liberty HS in Bethlehem, PA; and Patrick Nemorin of Deerfield Beach HS in Deerfield Beach, FL.  On the surface, it might appear that Schiano has overloaded the LB corps in this one class.  However, Schiano has shown a tendency to move LBs to DE.  So, the 2006 LB class may not end up this big once position changes are effected. 
  • DBs – Schiano needed to sign one CB and one safety in this class. Greg signed three DBs – Julian Hayes of Malverne HS in Malverne, NY; CB Kevin Holloway of McArthur HS in Hollywood, FL; and S Zaire Kitchen of Hargrave Military Academy of Chatham, VA.  Rutgers will have eight first or second year DBs in the program next year.  The position should be well stocked. 
  • Kickers – Schiano did not need to sign any kickers in this class.  He didn't.  Mission accomplished. 


Schiano signed six recruits rated at three-stars by Scout.  From the perspective of the network ratings, it's probably the most highly rated of Schiano's recruiting classes.  Is it the best?  I sure as hell don't know.  It has been said that a typical recruiting class is one-third sure things, one-third busts, and one-third in between.  The ultimate fate of such a class largely depends upon the ability of the coaching staff to develop that middle third.  How good is this class?  Ask me in three years.  What we do know that Schiano needed a class over-weighted in LBs, OL, and QBs.  He got the LBs.  He fell badly short on OL and failed to recruit a JUCO QB to bolster his inexperienced signal callers.  He also needed another workhorse TB and apparently missed that target.  And he over-recruited yet again at WR.  On the surface, the 2006 recruiting class did not adequately address the needs of the program. 


Please send any comments to dwelch11@comcast.net.  I welcome and appreciate your feedback.  And please put "Rutgers" in the message header because I wouldn't want to miss your email in a sea of spam. 


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