Scarlet Nation's weekly feature built in the mold of the famed Rutgers sandwich returns with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. From recruiting to RU football to RU hoops, we close out the week with a generous serving of our latest Fat Cat.
Darnell Dinkins on the progression of the Rutgers tight ends:
"These guys are all working hard and pushing each other. They're all out there competing each and every day, which as a coach that's what you want. You want a person or persons pushing within the group so you don't have to go out there and motivate anybody."
Joe Rossi on what is expected of Rutgers' second kickoff return man:
"They have to be effective, because if Deering continues, and we expect him to really become an elite guy for us back there, you're going to try to see people trying at times to kick the ball away from him. If that happens, you need your other returner to be an explosive player for you as well. We feel like we have a group of guys that can do that."
Logan Ryan on his preseason expectations and nominations:
"Going back to when I was in high school, my dad told me that preseason awards mean absolutely nothing. I'm honored to be mentioned in those categories and whatever the gossip may be, but at the end of the day I just want to win a BIG EAST championship."
Jawan Jamison on what he's improved on this summer:
"I feel like I've been setting my blocks up better. That was my key thing, I was always trying to cut too fast instead of pressing and pressing it like I was supposed to."
Blake Rankin on adjusting to Rutgers' pro-style offense:
"It is similar to what I did in high school but now at the college level there is so much more to it; knowing the routes, knowing the coverage. You really have to know the ins and outs of the whole offense and what everybody is doing."
Scott Vallone on being a leader on the defensive line:
"I'm trying to be vocal because I've been through it. Mike [Larrow] started a few games and Jamil [Merrell] started a few games. I'm a guy that has so many starts and been in the fire. I know what it takes, you can't take days off. I've taken days off and had bad games. I think that comes with maturity. They have to learn for themselves but I try to help them out along the way and help them learn from my mistakes."
Fat Cat Top Five
Top Five true freshman summer performances
5.) Derrick Nelson
4.) Steve Longa
3.) Darius Hamilton
2.) Kyle Federico
1.) Leonte Carroo
Bobby's Crystal Ball
Both Jamil and Jamal Merrell will wind up starting on the Rutgers defense by the second game of the season
Major tri-scrimmage set for Wednesday
Scarlet Nation will be on hand Wednesday morning at Immaculata High School for what is annually one of the top tri-scrimmages in the state. The host Spartans will welcome Don Bosco Prep and Piscataway to campus for the day, with the action set to begin at 10 a.m.
Players to keep an eye on in during the session include Don Bosco 4-star defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad and first-year starting quarterback Frank Nutile. It will also be Scarlet Nation's first look at Linden transfer Kyle Phipps in an Ironmen uniform.
Nadir Barnwell, who this week declared Rutgers his leader, will be in the spotlight for Piscataway, which boasts plenty of speed at the skill positions. For Immaculata, Auburn commit Tashawn Bower and quarterback Antonio Natale will be guys to watch, as well as lineman Trevor Socarras.
DL Eric Wiafe (Egg Harbor Township)
Wiafe was one of several 2013 commits in attendance for Saturday's open scrimmage. He also had the chance to spend time with his future position coach, Jim Panagos, and future linemates during the defensive line meetings.
"I learned a little about the defense in the defensive line meeting," Wiafe said. "It was great to meet with Coach Panagos as well."
Wiafe's team opens the season at Oakcrest, which features Penn State commit Brandon Bell, on Friday, September 7.
DT Josh Klecko (Red Bank Catholic)
For Klecko, the 2012 summer has been a productive one as he gears up for his final high school campaign.
"I feel like I got a lot better," the Rutgers commit said. "I feel stronger and that my feet and hands are quicker. I'm using my hands real well."
The increase in bulk is encouraging for Klecko, who was viewed as undersized throughout the recruitment process. He says he currently weighs "about 274 pounds."
"I took a weight gainer shake and ate and lifted a lot," he explained. "Most websites have me at 235 and that's just so off."
WR John Tsimis (Bergen Catholic)
So far, so good for the Harrington Park native in his comeback from spring ACL surgery.
"I go to rehab three times a week for two hours a day," he told Scarlet Nation. "I'm going to start running in about a month."
Tsimis had the opportunity to watch the Rutgers offense in action during Saturday's scrimmage, and he feels comfortable about where he will fit in once healthy and on campus.
"They ran the ball a lot because the plays were all scripted but they ran play action too," he said. "I think I can help as a deep threat and also out of the slot."
TE Andrew Isaacs (Manchester, Ct.)
After defining himself as a "soft verbal" to Boston College for some time, Isaacs flipped his commitment to Maryland on Tuesday morning. However, Scarlet Nation was told despite his decision, Rutgers will continue to recruit the 6-foot-3, 230-pound prospect. Isaacs has a strong relationship with his main recruiters--Dave Brock and Darnell Dinkins--and the Scarlet Knights remain in pursuit for his services. Getting him on campus again is the primary factor in trying to sway him to Piscataway.
LB Skai Moore (University School (Fla.))
Moore is Rutgers' main priority at linebacker, and sources in Florida have confirmed the Scarlet Knights are currently his leader, though he intends on visiting Vanderbilt one more time before he makes a decision. The Commodores signify the main competition for Moore, so it will be interesting to see if Rutgers tries to entice him for a return trip to campus for an official visit.
DE Kemoko Turay (Barringer)
Turay made the trip to Rutgers on Saturday with his head coach Darnell Mangan and both came away impressed by the close-knit atmosphere they encountered. The 6-foot-5 Turay has yet to play his first down of varsity high school football but Mangan says his potential is apparent every day in practice.
"He is a freak," Mangan said. "He disrupts the offense in practive every day. We've got to go seven-man protection when we want to throw the football. He's improving on some things like staying low and being disciplined in his assignments, but he's making the transition."
Mangan said Turay has rekindled his love for the game as well, and will be utilized strictly at defensive end for Barringer this yer. He will also play tight end in the team's red-zone and goal-line packages.
"He breaks open, runs the corner and post well, and he's a threat when you throw a vertical," Mangan said.
Mangan added Rutgers would like to see Turay around 220-225 when he enrolls on campus, and that his body could add more weight once he gets into a college strength and conditioning program.
OL Dorian Miller (Metuchen)
Tuesday's visit to Rutgers for Miller was his 'most comfortable one yet.' Miller stayed for a while after practice and had some valuable one-on-one time with head coach Kyle Flood. Miller said he hopes to be on hand for Saturday's scrimmage at Rutgers although it depends on how worn out he is from this week of practice as Metuchen has just gotten underway with its summer camp.
WR Kyle LaPorte (Piscataway)
LaPorte is definitely not a priority recruit for Rutgers at this time, but the Scarlet Knights are keeping him on the radar. He attended practice last week with teammate Nadir Barnwell and spoke with the coaching staff while he was there.
"I thought the practice was really good," LaPorte said. "I liked the tempo; it was non-stop, hard-hitting. The coaches want me to spend some time with the team."
Rutgers is the only school looking at LaPorte as a wide receiver, and the 5-foot-10 athlete could possibly visit for tomorrow's scrimmage.
DE/TE Justin Nelson (DePaul)
Nelson was one of a plethora of underclassmen who visited Rutgers last Saturday. He told Scarlet Nation he enjoyed his on-campus experience.
"I got to sit in meetings, relax in the players lounge, watch practice, and eat with the team," Nelson said. " I really just got a good feel for the program. "I think it's a really good place to go to school. Practices are highly intense; it's like the team is always flying around the field. I also got to see my teammate Davon Jacobs tear it up on the field."
Nelson said he likes Rutgers a lot at this juncture in his recruitment, and was able to glean key details on the way of life for a member of the program.
"I learned that in college from 6:00 am until 12:00 am you're with your team whether it be in meetings, film, practicing or just hanging out. You're a true family."
Nelson also received good feedback from the Rutgers staff, which views him as a defensive end.
"They just told me they're very interested in me and I'm the type of player they could see fitting in their scheme right away," he said.
WR Andre Patton (St. Elizabeth, Del.)
Patton made a visit to Rutgers last weekend for the open practice, his first time on campus since the change in coaching staffs.
Patton's head coach Joe Hemphil said that "Andre had a very good visit to Rutgers, it went very well."
This came on the heels of a visit to his rumored leader West Virginia. Hemphil noted that Patton also enjoyed his visit to Morgantown but it did not result in a commitment.
Along with Rutgers and West Virginia, Purdue and Penn State are maintaining interest, according to Hemphil. Purdue has offered and are likely to receive an official visit. Penn State just requested Patton's transcript so an offer may be coming. Although West Virgina sent Patton a written offer on August 1st, Scarlet Nation has learned that they have cooled on Patton in recent weeks.
Patton held a verbal offer from Boston College since last summer but with the recent commitment of Charles Callinan, the Eagles have likely filled their all their wide receiver slots in the class of 2013. And with Callinan off the board, Patton now looks to be RU's top wide receiver target.
RB Dontea Ayres (Middletown, Del.)
Rumors had been going around about Ayres transfer to the Delaware school hitting a snag. Scarlet Nation has learned that Ayres is in the process of completing all of his paperwork to finalize his transfer along with getting his physical before being cleared to play. Ayres should officially be on the roster and begin practicing next week with the defending Delaware Division 1 state champions which feature 2014 RU targets Chris Godwin and Darius Wade. Ayres transfer to the Delaware school will allow him to enroll at Rutgers in January 2013.
RB/DB Cameron Nash (Piscataway)
Nash grew up in Piscataway, playing his Pop Warner ball in town. However, his family relocated to Delaware after his seventh grade year. He was a standout as a junior at Smyrna High School in Delaware, but moved back to Piscataway this summer as a result of his father taking a new job.
At 5-foot-7, 170 pounds, Nash is undersized but his speed and quickness have him on some colleges radar, including Rutgers. As of now, it is doubtful he will receive an offer from his hometown program, but should he only be pursued by Divison I-AA schools, Nash might pick one up late in the recruiting process, or more likely, be offered a spot as a preferred walk-on.
Visitors for Saturday
RU commit Anthony Cioffi
2014 RB J.T. Blyden (Avon Grove, Pa.)
2015 QB Cinjun Erskine (Barnegat)
2015 OL Sam Madden (Barnegat) (6-foot-7, 310 pounds) Holy Spirit
2013 WR Ish Hyman (St. John Vianney)
2013 OL Dorian Miller (Metuchen)
2014 WR Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del.)
2014 QB Darius Wade (Middletown, Del.)
2014 DE Garrett Dickerson (Bergen Catholic)
2014 DE Andrew Trumbetti (Demarest)
Poole the playmaker
In his first two years at Rutgers, Mike Poole often relied on his teammates to set him up for his field goal attempts, settling into a role as a complimentary player. However, during this summer's JSBL, Poole showed a more aggressive, attacking style. While it is impossible to compare summer ball at the Jersey Shore to the rigors of the BIG EAST, Poole says he plans to try to carry this developing portion of his game over to the regular season.
"I think coming into college those were my strengths, playmaking and stuff like that," Poole said. "When I got to college, I was playing with more guys who could do that already. I just wanted to fit in. I did that, but now that I'm thinking about it, I'm expanding my game a little bit more. Going into the season now, playing in this [JSBL], I think I'm a little more confident now. I'm getting back to my old self. Playing like this should be expected from me during the season."
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