What's going on in Piscataway, N.J., these days?
Everyone knows Rutgers coach Greg Schiano is a tremendous recruiter and that the job he has done in taking a perennial loser to the brink of a BCS bid has been outstanding. But he has done it for the most part by focusing on New Jersey, New York and south Florida when it comes to recruiting.
This year is different — much different.
With Wednesday's commitment from running back Desmond Scott of Durham (N.C.) Hillside, the Scarlet Knights are branching out into new areas when it comes to recruiting. The top two commitments in the class of 2009 for Rutgers are from out of state — and neither is from New York or Florida.
Yep. You know where this is going.
Springfield (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara quarterback Tom Savage surprised a lot of people when he committed to Rutgers over offers from Penn State, Miami, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida State and others. Scott's offer list of Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, Clemson and others was equally as impressive.
Throw in tight end Paul Carrezola from Langhorne (Pa.) Neshaminy — who had offers from Boston College, Pitt, Iowa, North Carolina State and others — and three of Rutgers' first seven commitments are from recruiting areas normally owned by other programs.
In 2008, Schiano was able to pull three-star athlete Morgan Carter out of Virginia and quarterback Wayne Warren from Maryland. But neither had nearly as many options as Savage, a Rivals100 quarterback, and Scott, a Rivals250 all-purpose back.
When Penn State desperately needs a quarterback and a player such as Savage (a 6-foot-3, 231-pounder with a rocket arm) is in eastern Pennsylvania, you expect the Nittany Lions to win the recruiting race. They did that a few years ago with Pat Devlin, who originally had committed to Miami. Can Penn State steal Savage away from Rutgers as they did with Devlin and Miami?
"Only if Greg Schiano were to become the new head coach at Penn State," was Savage's answer following his commitment.
Savage loves Rutgers' offense and coaching staff and the opportunity to compete to play in a BCS bowl for a local team.
I guess I better get used to this. Every time Rutgers lands a decent recruit we're going to read stories about how they are taking over everything east of the Mississippi River. But a simple look at the facts says there is no comparison. Penn State doesn't get every kid they want, but they rarely lose a kid to Rutgers. Without doing the research I would bet nine times out of ten when a kid has an offer from Rutgers and Penn State and chooses one of those schools, it's Penn State.
This year Penn State already has 11 verbal commitments. Five of them had offers from the Knights. Rutgers has seven commitments, which is impressive, but only Savage held an offer from Penn State. And I don't think any of our kids ever even mentioned Rutgers as a major player in their recruiting. There is no comparison.
Contrary to what Farrell says, quarterbacks are not "desperately" needed in this class. Daryll Clark has two years of eligibility left and Pat Devlin has three. Had Savage committed to Penn State he was looking at a minimum of two years on the bench behind these guys. And while Savage is mostly a pure dropback passer, Penn State has made no secret about the fact they intend to go back to the spread option offense they used under Michael Robinson in 2005. Savage is not a good fit for this offense, so it's no surprise he's more attracted to the pro style offense Schiano runs.
Every time I read one of these articles it gets my blood boiling. Serenity now. Serenity now.