"Tom Savage: Dedicated to the Rutgers Family"

Back during the 2007 recruiting season, Rutgers fans got wind that a potential high-ranking signal caller was poised to potentially join the team located on "the banks". At the start of 2008, Rutgers had landed one of those coveted national recruits that other premiere schools love to build their classes around. His name, all too familiar to Scarlet Knight fans, is Tom Savage.

Since his commitment and eventual signing with Rutgers, Tom Savage has been recognized as an All-American, a recruiter, a leader, a stronghold of a recruiting class, and a top notch recruit (all in one year) that loves Rutgers as much as many Rutgers alumni.

SOR had a chance to catch up with Savage while he was enjoying the Jersey sun on the beach and getting used to his future surroundings in NJ this past week. Here's what he had to say:

What is your current height and weight?

6' 4.5" & 224 lbs.

Do you have any nicknames or a.k.a.s you go by?

No…just Tom.

Do you have any hobbies or other sports you are interested in?

I play golf now and I'm a big video gamer.

I've been playing golf since I was 2 and I'm a 4 handicap. When did you start playing and why?

That's really good. I just started playing recently. It was recommended to me to play golf because that and quarterbacking have a lot of the same weight shifts and a lot of QBs who play golf become more consistent with their footwork. So I'm taking lessons now and learning how to play the game. It's a lot of fun.

Do you have any ideas on an intended major yet?

I don't have any idea yet so I'll be more in the liberal arts form. I'm not even sure what college I'm in at Rutgers just yet. I'm going there next week and I'll learn at that time.

What do you bring to the table here at Rutgers?

Generally, I bring good leadership and I'm a good team player and have the drive to put in the work to win a Big East (BE) Championship and to eventually win a National Championship (NC).

What are your best skills?

Right now, probably accuracy and poise in the pocket and I'm a pretty athletic style of QB. I'm a drop back passer, but I'm not your typical guy that can't move and I'm not a QB that likes to scramble to make plays all the time.

What have you been doing to get better?

I changed up my throwing form completely to get my throws out of my hand quicker. I had to do that because the college game is so much quicker and I didn't want my first college pass to be a pick 6. I've also been studying the playbook for a while (back to when I signed on) and have been watching film on getting into my drops quicker and improving my footwork.

Are you in and how are you coming along with the Rutgers strength and conditioning program? Abdul informed me he is still on the winter program.

I'm on the winter program still too. It's the hardest conditioning program I've gone through and it's very structured and works out every muscle in your body. I can't wait to get into the full conditioning program and get up to Rutgers because I don't have access to all the machinery I need at times.

Abdul informed me that you and Aaron had huge involvement in recruiting him to come to RU. What is driving you for such dedication towards the Rutgers program?

First off, I know everyone in this program wants to win a BE championship and a NC. That was why I committed so early to Coach Schiano. After I committed, I told my high school coach to tell other coaches thank you very much but I'm committed to Rutgers 100% and my mind is not changing. After doing that, I had a lot more time to talk to other guys and tell them about the program, how cool everyone there is, and how they should check it out. It's cool to talk to other guys and find out how they feel about Rutgers and guide them through the recruiting process to take a look at RU. I wouldn't have been able to do that if I didn't commit so early.

In a perfect world, do you feel you should play some this year or do you see yourself redshirting to learn more and pick up in 2010?

First off, let me say that every player wants to play, but I'm going in there to learn and work hard and see what happens. I don't want to do anything to hurt my career or the team by starting before they feel I'm ready to take over. It's the coach's decision in the end and I respect their decisions because they've been doing it for a while. If they feel they have a good handle and redshirting is best, then we'll go that route. I trust the staff a lot.

What are your expectations for playing early?

Of course I want to play just like every QB and there are a lot of us (recruits) that are coming in to play. There is no program out there that is going to say you are their starting QB right off the bat so I know I have to work to get there. There are some guys in this class that are in "ready to play" shape now so we feel that we can come in and make an impact right away. I know some of my classmates have told me that they feel they will get on the field quickly because they can fill a role the team needs. At the very least, the competition will make us all better in the end.

In watching a lot of spring practices, what is the thing you learned the most by watching the offense?

I'd have to say the tempo and how everyone is supposed to run hard and play hard. The biggest learning experience for me is taking mental reps after looking at the plays on the field and seeing where everyone is on the field and learning what the protection calls are. Of course, it's way different when you are doing it, but it helps me visualize what should be happening.

That will help you a lot in golf as well…just an FYI. How do you feel knowing that you will have to compete for playing time?

Everyone has to compete everywhere they go and everything you go out there to do, even warm-ups, are looked at closely. I'm a hard worker and enjoy doing all of that so those things are a plus because it brings out the best in me and everyone.

What sold you on Rutgers University?

Coach Schiano of course…he's the coolest coach I talked to hands down. Winning a NC and the BE and knowing the offensive line (OL) is ranked up there at the top for the past 3 years also was a huge selling point. Everyone I met in the program was very nice to me and made me feel like I was welcome there. All the coaches are really cool and there is a really big family atmosphere within the program that was a very big selling point to me. It's not like a lot of other schools that treat their football program like a football factory where winning is the only thing and players are just there…it's a program where winning is the product of being a team and working hard together.

Is your family excited that they'll get to see you play in person?

Yea…they are really excited. Having my family there wasn't a deciding factor for me, but it's nice. RU could have been in California and I would have gone there to play for coach, but it was an added bonus to have my family that close cause they'll get to go to every home game.

Talk a little bit about the camaraderie of the players within your incoming class.

It's really cool and unique. I know all of them and we all get to talk a lot, especially on facebook. We're now making fun of each other and getting more comfortable. We're like joking around and we're different than other classes around and we're coming in with high expectations. I've talked to some guys committed to other schools and they all tell me they haven't even met all the other recruits in their class and I feel bad for them. I'm glad we all know each other and get along. I'm happy with the guys we got. There are some guys in the class that are just incredible players and have flown under the radar. Mark Harrison is one of those guys…he is a ridiculous athlete and receiver and I can't wait to throw with him. I can't believe he only got 1 other offer, but I'm glad he's on our side.

What players from your high school do you see as potential D1 recruits that you'd like to see come to Rutgers?

Corey Brown for sure. He's one of the most ridiculous athletes and I'd love for him to come to Rutgers. He's more a quiet guy and he's hard to read, but he's only come to RU and has visited Penn State with a friend so I think we have a good chance.

What current recruit and RU player have you formed the biggest bond with and why?

I'd say all of them. They've all talked to me and introduced themselves and we're all close. The team all came up and introduced themselves to me so I know and talk to a lot of guys. I've thrown with Paul a few times because he lives closest to me.

What do you like best about your position?

Just being the coach and a leader on the field. Everyone says there's a lot of pressure but I like the fact that I have to go out there and perform every down.

As much as you love QB, if you could play another position on the field, what would it be?

I always thought that being a running back would be cool and I always liked playing receiver when I got a chance to. I'm not a huge defensive side of the ball guy.

What physical gains have you made as of late?

I got a lot stronger and a lot bigger and cut some weight. I dropped 7 lbs. from where I was prior to signing day and have done a lot of working out at school.

What college would you like to beat the most in Rutgers first winning BCS game?

Penn State or Notre Dame…there's a lot of fans in the area that talk crap and I'd just like to beat either one to prove that we are better. I got to talk a lot of crap to the Notre Dame fans after they lost to Syracuse which was great. I'd love to play USC as well, but the ones I'd like to beat the most are Penn State or Notre Dame equally.

What do you plan to get accomplished at Rutgers?

Win a BE championship and be a good leader on and off the field. I really want to be consistent and be someone they can rely on to get the job done. Ultimately, we all want to win a NC at Rutgers.

Do you have a message for Rutgers fans? Abdul said "I hope they are ready for greatness cause that's what 2013's class is coming (to Rutgers) for."

I don't have any cool messages like him (laughing) and I'm sure you'll hear a lot more of that from other guys cause we have some confident guys in our class. I'd have to say for RU fans to get ready for a BE championship and a national championship.

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