Rutgers received a new commitment today, one which automatically vaults to the top of its 2014 recruiting class. Weeki Wachee (Fla.) offensive tackle Marcus Applefield announced his intentions to become a Scarlet Knight this afternoon.
Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee explained why Applefield opted for a future at Rutgers.
"I just think it was the atmosphere at Rutgers. He loved the players, the coaches, everybody. He had a great time on his official visit up there for the USF game. He loved the family environment and I think he felt at home."
A good deal of the credit in bringing Applefield to Rutgers belongs to defensive line coach Jim Panagos, who served as his primary recruiter.
"Coach Panagos did a really nice job I think from the get-go," Lee said. "Rutgers was his first BCS scholarship offer and coach Panagos really did a great job of making him feel wanted and recruiting him from the beginning."
The dismissal of former RU offensive line coach Damian Wrobleski last week did not deter Applefield.
Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood did a fine job of explaining the staff changes while Applefield was on campus and sealed the deal with a home visit on Wednesday.
"He was a little bit concerned about it when I spoke to him on Sunday, but we discussed it and I told him that sometimes this is how the business is," Lee said. "Sometimes, you have to make changes. Coach Flood had a great home visit with him during the week. He was okay with it."
Applefield will enroll this January and be able to participate in spring practice as a true freshman. Lee mentioned what kind of player Rutgers is getting in the three-star prospect.
"He came in as a 6-foot-1, 183-pound athlete and now he's 6-foot-6 290. He's only going to get better. Once they get him into a strength and conditioning program and eating program. He'll have all the training he needs, all the film he needs to be successful."
Lee also offered up a nice endorsement for Applefield off the field.
"As great of a football player as Marcus Applefield is, he's an even better person. I think that's the part I'm going to miss the most around here, how good of a kid he is and what he's done for us."