Coach Discusses Rutgers Commit Bimonte

Rutgers received a commitment from Manalapan High (Englishtown, N.J.) quarterback Mike Biimonte on Friday, and afterward his coach spoke to to give a scouting report and detail what the Scarlet Knights are getting. Braves coach Tom Gallahue spoke about Bimonte' mental toughness and physical tools.

Manalapan High (Englishtown, N.J.) quarterback Mike Bimonte wanted a Rutgers offer bad, excruciatingly bad, but the Scarlet Knights staff needed to perform its due diligence in researching him as a player and person before extending one.

Through the uncertainty, Bimonte's mettle was tested, but he never cracked, never got upset about the process.

It paid off with an offer from the Scarlet Knights late Friday afternoon, and was followed quickly by a commitment as Rutgers secured its quarterback in the 2011 class.

But the calm and cool manner in which Bimonte handled his recruitment came as no surprise to Braves coach Tom Gallahue, who has watched the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder play with poise and passion for years. Bimonte was brought up to the varsity level as a freshman and has started since his sophomore year.

"Mike has a great combination of poise and decision-making," Gallahue told "Those two things are so important for a quarterback that they can't be understated. Those two things turned into a strength. When you look at him physically, you think, ‘He's a (Division) I-A quarterback.' When you look at all the intangibles, he's a top I-A quarterback.

"His maturity, his ability to remain calm on the field in the face of chaos …he came back as a sophomore and won two games on the last play of the game."

One of those games came minutes after Bimonte thought he threw a win away.

In the fourth game of the 2008 season against Ocean Township (Oakhurst, N.J.), the Braves trailed 7-6 but were driving for the go-ahead score in the closing minute.

"We run a play-action pass and the guy is wide open and Mike makes a bad throw and it's picked off at the goal line," Gallahue said. "It looked like Mike had lost the game and the stands emptied out."

Manalapan used its three timeouts and forced Ocean to punt. The Braves got the ball back and on the next play Bimonte threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to give them a 12-7 win.

"That game changed everything for him," Gallahue said. "He was a sophomore and he went from walking off the field thinking he lost the game for us to running back on the field four plays later to throw a touchdown pass to win the game."

Bimonte is not a polished, high-profile quarterback, Gallahue said, but rather a self-made winner who exhibits strong leadership skills and an intense desire to win.

He was a three-sport athlete, but dropped basketball and baseball to focus on football. He held an offer from Temple and had numerous offers from Football Championship Subdivision schools, but held out for the Rutgers offer.

The Scarlet Knights initially saw him perform at last month's Schiano Shootout and invited him to camp a couple days later, and he continued to impress.

"He's very competitive," Gallahue said. "He's quiet, but he's very competitive. Players look up to him because they know when the game is on the line, that guy can make the plays."

"We thought he would do real well at the camps, once everybody saw him. Everybody liked his film, but physically we thought at the camps everyone would like him.

"The things that you don't see when you watch a young man like Mike throw, or you watch his highlight film, are the intangibles. To a quarterback, those are as important as anything that he does physically."

Gallahue added Bimonte possessed "good high school arm strength" as a junior, but a growth spurt, physical maturation and dedication in the weight room changed the arm strength to "very good for the college level."

Bimonte moves his feet well and delivers the ball quickly. As a junior, he threw for 1,800 yards, 20 touchdowns and four interceptions.

"He's always worked very hard in the weight room, and he's worked even harder with his agility and speed training," Gallahue said. "His arm strength, his foot quickness, his speed is a testament to how hard he worked. That was not God-given ability. He worked so hard."

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