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Schiano Leaves Rutgers: Recruiting Fallout Begins, Syracuse’s Golden Opportunity

(Update: 4:04p. ESPN’s Dave Hooker has published a piece that cites specific recruits Rutgers is now in danger of losing, including one with Syracuse ties.

“Since the news (3-star WR – Don Bosco Prep) Leonte Caroo has also seen his phone ringing off the hook with places like Illinois, Miami and Syracuse already reaching out.”¬†

The piece listed a group of players that are fielding calls and texts from other schools looking to swoop in. Don Bosco Prep head coach Dave Toal said Darius Hamilton and Caroo were “real concerned. They want some stability and they want some answers.”¬† Three-star offensive tackle Ryan Brodie may have UConn and West Virginia resurface in the race. Four-star offensive line commit Chris Muller said Michigan, South Carolina and Vanderbilt have reached out to him since the news broke.

Toal had some daunting words for Rutgers:

“I’m very concerned about the situation. It has a tremendous impact. I don’t think there’s ever a good time, but this might be, possibly the worst time it could happen to be honest with you.”

CBS Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming says, “It will absolutely destroy recruiting this close to signing day.”

St. Peter’s head coach Rich Hansen: “I‚Äôm just having a hard time wrapping my head around the timing of it because I don‚Äôt think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a signing day next Wednesday.”¬†

Mike Giacone (TE – St. Peter’s) is now reconsidering his options and re-connected with Connecticut, Boston College and Wisconsin.

Caroo, who was contacted by SU today, will take an official visit to Miami.

J.J. Denmon, a four-star recruit from Pennsylvania, said he is sticking with Rutgers.

* * *

Greg “Crazy Eyes” Schiano had two boxes to check before he left Rutgers: Lots of money and writing on the wall. Done and done. By jumping to the Buccaneers, he no doubt will earn a major payday. He also likely sees an ever-expanding chasm to cross as Rutgers may be left behind in the conference realignment.

The ACC wanted UConn before Boston College stepped in to block it, and forced the invite to Pitt. But should the conference expand again (and Notre Dame came aboard), you’d have to imagine the Huskies and their powerful basketball teams would once again get the nod over RU. Rutgers’ Big 10 potential has always been theorized, although the tectonic plates may have stabilized around college football for the time being. RU may be stuck in a bad Big East for the foreseeable future. Three of its biggest rivals are headed to better conferences (Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia), and a stack of cash was staring back at those Crazy Eyes. Wouldn’t you leave, too?

Which brings us to those three rivals, most importantly SU. Doug Marrone has not fared well against the Scarlet Knights on the recruiting trail in New Jersey. The Garden State used to be a fertile area in the 80s and 90s for Mac and Coach P. But the combination of Schiano’s success and SU’s plummet turned the tables in the state.¬†Syracuse’s only ’12 Jersey commit is DT Marcus Coleman, who was only the 39th best recruit in the state.

Schiano has built his entire program around keeping great talent within NJ’s borders. One year ago, RB Savon Huggins‘ commitment was the first time Rutgers had landed the top player in the state. But dozens of highly rated Jersey recruits consider RU every year. This season Schiano’s been battling Florida, Miami and Auburn for 5-star DE Darius Hamilton from Ramsey (Don Bosco Prep). Four-star ATH/QB Devin Fuller (Westwood, NJ) has been interested in Rutgers along with Nebraska, Arizona and Notre Dame. Three-star offensive lineman Derrick Nelson from Washington DC was an SU target, but verbally committed to Rutgers in July.

One of SU’s biggest targets, Brooklyn’s Wayne Morgan, was considering Rutgers earlier. But it looks now like it’s down to SU, UConn and maybe a late push from Penn State. At one point Syracuse was recruiting against RU for¬†DE/OLB Deaysean Rippy from McKeesport Rocks, PA. But it seems like he has narrowed it down to West Virginia, Pitt, Arizona and Colorado. Rangy TE Ryan Morris came out of Rutgers country (Barnegat HS) and visited Syracuse, but committed to Purdue over the summer.

The timing of this departure couldn’t be worse for Rutgers. Just six days until National Signing Day, and you’d have to imagine more than a few 18-year-olds who thought they were committing to play for a coach they built a relationship with just had their worlds turned upside down. Marrone’s staff has a reputation of avoiding negative recruiting. But the stability and family atmosphere SU sells might have a stronger pull today for student-athletes scared by the change at RU. Either way, Rutgers needs to move fast to replace Ol’ Crazy Eyes, and the new guy needs to move even faster to keep those commits in place.

Posted: D.A.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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