Ryan Blaszczyk, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound junior center, was a question mark at the start of the season. As winter turns to spring, this former high school star from Medford Lakes is now a Rutgers team leader:
Three weeks before the team's 2007 season
opener against Buffalo, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said of Blaszczyk
"He ain't there yet, though, I can promise you that."
Schiano was singing a different tune after the second day of spring practice on Thursday.
went from being a question mark at this time last year to being one of
our two returning starters," Schiano said. "So I think it's a pretty
Sean Pearson, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive guard from St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, N.J., has already taken visits to Pittsburgh, and Syracuse and has plans to go to Penn State and West Virginia over the new few weeks for junior days. ...
“I liked it a lot at Rutgers and there was nothing negative about the
trip to speak of at all,” Pearson said. “Head Coach Greg Schiano was
pretty cool and they definitely had the nicest facilities I’ve seen so
far. Rutgers is close to home which is nice and like I said, I really
like everything about them.”
Vivian Stringer is making the rounds talking about her new book, "Standing Tall." Football players and fans -- at RU and elsewhere -- can learn many lessons from this classy coach who is pushing hard with her Rutgers team for another strong season finish. A lot of the attention is not on this year -- it is on the future of the Stringer program, and Coach Stringer has five more reasons to stand tall: a recruiting class that includes Brooklyn Pope of Fort Worth, Texas, and April Sykes of Mississippi. The group includes a total of five All Americans. As Harvey Araton put it in The Times this morning: Thank you Don Imus.
“He pretty much put Rutgers on the map,” said Janice Pope, the mother of Brooklyn.
Not to suggest that Rutgers wasn’t a national power and nearly a
national champion before the uproar caused by Imus last April. Not to
say that Stringer had not always landed players from afar, just not at
the magnetic level of Connecticut and Tennessee.
projections for the Rutgers freshman class of 2008-9 are accurate,
Auriemma and Pat Summitt may no longer be in a recruiting league of
their own. “Basically, we were hoping to get three,” said Carlene
Mitchell, Stringer’s assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. “The
chips just fell.”
The blue chips, she meant.
Stringer did a video interview for Forbes.com. Asked what she tells new players about the Imus episode, Coach Stringer said: "We define who we are....these young ladies are great students...they presented themselves in a poised, a class way ... how could I not be proud and extremely happy because they stood so tall."
Will Rutgers play Wisconsin? There is a chance that 2008 will see a Knights-Badgers series. Go RU! Here is a Wisconsin report on the chances of a 2008 schedule for Rutgers and Wisconsin.
Madison - Wisconsin officials appear to be close to
filling out their 2008 football schedule and although no official
announcement has been made one school that appears to be in the running
is Rutgers of the Big East Conference.
Phone messages left with officials at both schools Wednesday were not immediately returned.
However, Rutgers like UW is still working to schedule a 12th
regular-season game for 2008. A home-and-home series between the
schools, perhaps beginning this season, would be attractive to both
Many New Jersey prospects did slip out of state, but as realfootball365.com notes, one Florida quarterback will be headed to New Brunswick:
Greg Schiano and his staff did pick up two other four-star recruits
besides Forst -- defensive lineman Scott Vallone from Central Islip,
N.Y., and WR Keith Stroud from Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia,
and an imposing physical specimen of a quarterback in 6-6, 230-pound
D.C. Jefferson of Winter Haven, Fla.
"When you look down the street and see him," Schiano said of Jefferson, "you'd think he was with some pro franchise."
He was almost with LSU -- not surprisingly, considering Jefferson
has been compared to JaMarcus Russell and Rohan Davey in both playing
and body style. But after decommitting to Rutgers and flirting with the
Bayou Bengals, Jefferson decided to sign with the Scarlet Knights,
after all. With Mike Teel returning for his senior season, Jefferson
should have a year to ease in gradually.
Check out the D.C. Jefferson highlight reel embedded in this post (thanks YouTube!).
The Courier-Post has studied Rutgers salaries, and guess who comes out on top? Greg Schiano, who has done more to change attitudes about the state university than almost anyone else in recent years. From the salary survey:
Schiano, who is the highest paid public employee in the state, has a
base salary of $450,000 and guaranteed incentives that will push the
gross to $1.6 million through June 30, 2009. The contract could be
worth as much as $2.1 million by the time it expires in 2016, if he
meets each incentive.
Perks include a car, a country club membership, and an $800,000
interest-free home loan that will be paid for by the university if he
remains the coach through 2016. The loan was used to build a
5,000-square-foot home on land Schiano purchased near Rutgers Stadium
in the fall of 2006.
Schiano, in his eighth year at Rutgers, received a contract extension
in early 2007, two months after he turned down an offer to coach at the
University of Miami.
In December, Schiano spurned an offer to coach at the University of Michigan.
Including bonuses, Schiano grossed nearly $1.8 million in 2007, which
ranked 22nd nationally and second among Big East coaches last season.
According to someone with knowledge of the situation,
wide receivers coach Robert Jackson and defensive line coach
Cary Godette are both considering retirement. The person requested anonymity because neither assistant
has officially made a decision.
We do know about the announcements: Ed Pinkham as
defensive assistant and Chris Rippon as the special teams
coordinator. From the Ledger:
Pinkham, who hails from Clark, has spent the past 12
years as Colgate's defensive coordinator, earning a
promotion to associate head coach as well in 2005.
Rippon, from Lincoln Park, spent the past three years as
special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach at
Mississippi. He spent 12 years as an assistant at Syracuse,
serving as the defensive coordinator there from 1999-2003.
"Ed is a well-respected defensive coach. He brings
another sharp mind to the defensive side," said
Schiano, who will officially retain the title of defensive
coordinator but may yield some of the responsibilities this
season. "Chris has been a defensive coordinator and has
been successful in the Big East and the SEC. He brings a
wealth of experience."
Rutgers isn't expected to release its schedule until next week, dates
against Navy and Army are set. The Scarlet Knights will travel to
Annapolis, Md., to face the Midshipmen on Sept. 20, and will host Army
on Nov. 22.