Rutgers football has had two productive June weekends on the recruiting trail. They’ve nearly doubled its 2024 class, which now includes 15 prospects that have verbally committed. Per 247 Sports composite rankings, Rutgers’ 2024 class is No. 21 nationally as of June 13. How head coach Greg Schiano and the staff have built the class so far is of particular interest.
In a recruiting cycle in which New Jersey is considered to have a down year with high end, power five prospects, Rutgers has adapted. The’ve tapped into several other regions. Only 20% of the class is from the Garden State.
Not surprising, the program has rekindled its pipeline to Florida. There are currently four 3-star commits from the Sunshine state. They include Tycoolhill and Tyclean Luman, twin EDGE rushers, offensive lineman Raynor Andrews and safety Dah’Kari Gilley. Each took official visits in June and committed while they were on campus. In a talent rich state, it’s still a solid win to land top 150 recruits in Florida which they did with the Luman brothers. Andrews is top 200 as well.
What is a new development is Rutgers having a focus and being successful in Michigan. The staff have three commits from a key state in Big Ten country. The highest rated prospect in RU’s 2024 class is high 3-star athlete Gabe Winowich, a top 500 national recruit. He is from Franklin, Michigan and attends Detroit Country Day. 3-star linebacker Montele Johnson just visited and committed this past weekend. In addition, a renewed focus on the tight end position under offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca netted 3-star Monte Keener. In regard to their rankings in their home state, Winowich is No. 10, Johnson is No. 19 and Keener is No. 31.
It’s a significant change when you consider that Rutgers has signed just two players from Michigan out of high school since joining the Big Ten. In 2014, 3-star quarterback Gio Rescigno came to Piscataway and was a multi-season contributor. The only other signee was 3-star defensive end Devin Baldwin, who redshirted in 2019 before transferring to UMass. Obviously, there is real hope this current trio from Michigan will make a big impact on Rutgers in the future.
In terms of midwest footprint with the Big Ten, Rutgers also landed 3-star linebacker Sam Pilof from Middleton, Wisconsin. Pilof is ranked the No. 10 prospect in his state and becomes the first recruit Rutgers has landed from there since joining the Big Ten. It also gives RU four commits in the 2024 class from Big Ten territories.
I’ve long said that it would be a positive change for Rutgers to move into Big Ten areas for recruiting purposes and be less reliant on New Jersey. Schiano has had moderate success in Ohio since returning. There is plenty of talent in the midwest and tapping more into these areas can yield positive results on the recruiting trail for the program.
The other notable change is Rutgers landing two intriguing wide receivers from North Carolina. Isaiah Crumpler comes from an NFL family and is a high 3-star pass catcher from Greenville. This past weekend, they landed elite speedster Benjamin Black from the Charlotte area. Both are true playmakers and have high upside. Crumpler is the second highest rated recruit in the 2024 class for Rutgers and just outside the top 500 nationally. Black is an elite athlete who could make a big impact on either side of the ball, as well as special teams, in the future.
Rutgers only signed Sam Blue out of the Tarheel state in 2014 since joining the Big Ten. Wide receivers coach Dave Brock previously worked for North Carolina from 2005-2006. These recruiting connections are helping out now.
Of course, Rutgers continues to recruit nearby in New York and Maryland, yielding one commit from each so far. The staff has kept the pipeline strong with Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn, New York. They just landed 3-star defensive lineman Aaris Bethea, who is ranked No. 8 in the Empire state and the fourth highest rated prospect in the RU class. They’ve also added 3-star tight end Matthew Ogunniyi from Maryland.
It’s imperative that Rutgers can close out the 2024 recruiting cycle as strong as possible. While the class is currently in the top 25 nationally, they’re just No. 12 in the Big Ten in regard to average player rating. Without some 4-star prospects, the class will likely finish in the No. 40+ range. That being said, rankings are subjective and are not the end all, be all. The bottom line is the coaching staff has been resourceful in how they’ve built the 2024 class so far. Tapping into states like Florida, like usual, while making in-roads in Michigan and North Carolina, has resulted in very solid core for this group. And of course, they made a big score in landing AJ Surace, the top rated quarterback and No. 11 prospect in New Jersey. The other local commits include 3-star linemen Judah Pruitt from Newark and Kenny Jones from Delran.
There is plenty of work to be done in the 2024 recruiting cycle, but a solid haul so far has come from encouraging developments in how the staff is building the class. They continue to target recruits in the South and Midwest who could only improve the ranking of the 2024 class. However, if Rutgers can make these sustainable changes and develop lasting pipelines in Big Ten states, it will yield positive results in the years to come.
Thanks for reading the The Scarlet Faithful. For more Rutgers Athletics content from The Scarlet Faithful, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel. You can subscribe to The Scarlet Faithful podcast on Apple, Spotify, Pocket Casts and anywhere else you listen to podcasts. For advertising inquiries or to reach out directly, email at email@example.com