New Jersey’s #1 recruit, Don Bosco Prep’s Jalen Berger, has narrowed his choices down to 10 schools and Rutgers is in the running…oh…along with Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, LSU, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Oregon and Penn State. In all Berger has received 30 offers from P5 schools. For Rutgers, it’s an awful lot to overcome. Legacy programs like Alabama, Michigan and Ohio State will continue to win out on the best from Jersey. While Rutgers is putting in the effort and facilities are being built, it is still lagging behind the top football factories who have huge fan bases and seemingly endless cash flow. It will take some time to catch up.
Of course, an even bigger issue is the product on the field. A little over 10 years ago, in Greg Schiano’s heyday, the program was growing and there was a buzz in the air. Rutgers was not only going to bowl games, they were winning them. At that time top in-state recruits at least gave RU a look and some actually signed up, like offensive lineman Anthony Davis. But Rutgers recent performance on the field spells trouble in luring the top recruits in the country to Piscataway. The offense has been especially bad and it is hard to imagine a sought after running back like Berger coming to the banks. Unless….he has a big sense of Jersey pride and wants to be the savior. It’s is a nice thought for the RU faithful, the big star stays home. He would add a much-needed spark to the program and he would certainly see the field right away.
According to JJ Conrad from NJ Advance Media, Berger will make his announcement on national television (really?) on January 4th after the Adidas All American game.
As for now, for RU fans it’s wishful thinking, but the Scarlet Knights are still in consideration for the best player in Jersey and that’s something. It’s likely just a gesture from Berger to be included on his list but perhaps there is a slim chance his heart is in his home state. RU fans can only hope.