Recruiting Reset: Defensive Tackle

Before camps kick into high gear with a specialists camp June 25, begins a series analyzing the recruiting positions of the Scarlet Knights. The first edition of "Recruiting Reset" focuses on defensive tackle candidates. The Scarlet Knights already scored a big commitment from Al Page in April, but there are more defensive tackles on the board and still be recruited by Rutgers.

The hardest position to recruit in college football is defensive tackle, but in during Rutgers coach Greg Schiano's tenure the interior of the Scarlet Knights' defensive line has been a source of strength.

Some of the dominant players were ready-to-play defensive tackles, like Scott Vallone, while others were transformed, like all-American Eric Foster.

Rutgers already landed a big-time defensive tackle for the 2011 class when Christopher Columbus High's (Bronx, N.Y.) Al Page gave his pledge in mid April, but the Scarlet Knights are still in the market to add another big body to the middle, and there are a few handfuls of opportunities on the board.

A month ago the most likely to join Page was Sayreville High's (Parlin, N.J.) Daryl Stephenson, but he postponed his May 11 announcement to wait and see if he could reel in more offers, and in the process gave the Scarlet Knights reason look at other players.

Certainly, an intriguing player in the mix is four-star St. John's College (Washington, D.C.) product Kevin McReynolds, but it remains a question as to how serious he is about the Scarlet Knights.

He holds dozens of offers from coast-to-coast, and said on numerous occasions he will take an unofficial visit to Rutgers, but he is yet to make there.

Another intriguing player is Delaware Valley High's (Milford, Pa.) Brandon Clemons. He favored Pittsburgh early in his recruitment, but acknowledged that was because he didn't have much knowledge about other schools.

After a whirlwind spring tour took Clemons around the mid-Atlantic, he said he had a lot to digest before cutting his list. Given the proximity to Rutgers and the Scarlet Knights' success along the defensive line, it makes sense Clemons is giving them a hard, hard look.

During the spring evaluation period the Scarlet Knights sent offers to 6-foot-5, 278-pound Terry Bell of Tenoroc High (Lakeland, Fla.) and McKeesport (Pa.) High's Delvon Simmons. Both said their knowledge of Rutgers was limited, which makes it crucial for either of them to take a visit to campus before their seriousness can be taken at a high level.

Deon Green of Olympia High (Orlando, Fla.) also holds a Rutgers offers, but it figures to be a long time before he decides since he wants to take visits during the season. Taking a trip to Piscataway, N.J., often has a profound influence on kids, and if Rutgers can get Green on campus, it would have a shot.

There are other defensive tackles in the mix, including Miami (Fla.) Jackson High's Ruben Carter and Bladensburg (Md.) High's Joshua Wade.

Our Lady of Good Counsel's (Olney, Md.) Vincent Croce is off the board after committing to Virginia, and academics as it pertains to transferring into Rutgers knocked Mississippi Gulf Coast junior college's Jonathan Jenkins from consideration.

No doubt, though, if Rutgers doesn't land a defensive tackle in the near future, more names will surface when it comes to serious recruitment from the Scarlet Knights.

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