By : Steve Tichenor
Rutgers head coach, Chris Ash had a very challenging first season with the Scarlet Knights. They lost their last 9 games on the way to a 2-10 season with no conference wins. That kind of season does not generate many selling points to potential recruits.
But as National Signing Day approached, a big story developed for Rutgers Football. The New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons made it to the Super Bowl. That adds up to 5 former Rutgers players making it to the big game. That’s significant, considering the only other school to match that number is perennial national powerhouse Alabama. What’s more impressive is 4 out of the 5 are starters. Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan are starters in the Patriots secondary. Linebacker Jonathan Freeny is on injured reserve. For the Falcons, starting wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is expected to be a key target for quarterback Matt Ryan.
This is certainly a story Ash and the Rutgers athletic department jumped all over. They pushed the story to the media in a hurry and it has gotten a good amount of coverage. The message: If you have NFL aspirations and you sign with Rutgers, you will get your chance.
It is hard to gauge how much effect the news has had on Rutgers recruiting, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Rutgers ended up with a respectable recruiting class ranked by most scouting reports in the low 40’s nationally. There were very few flips and a couple of surprises. The timing of the Super Bowl news may have helped ease any anxiety potential recruits may have had, assuring them they are in good hands. Five players playing this Sunday can go a long way in validating a program. Even one that has had a rough go lately.
And with the Super Bowl kickoff coming in 24 hours, we at More Sports Now will take the opportunity to post the story of Rutgers’ good fortune one more time.