Greg Schiano not worried about losing current roster, recruits
As of now, the Southeastern Conference (SEC), Big 12, American Athletic Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt are all planning on having its fall seasons come September. The Big Ten, PAC 12, the MAC, and Mountain West as well as UMass, UConn, and Old Dominion have opted out due to COVID-19 concerns.
Rutgers, the “Birthplace of College Football”, had played on the gridiron every fall since 1872. The Big Ten as a conference, including when it was formerly known as the Western Conference, had played every year since 1896. Meanwhile, schools in the region such as Syracuse, Boston College, Pittsburgh, and Temple as well as in a top recruiting territory, the state of Florida, are all pushing on.
Rutgers’ 2021 recruiting class stands at No. 22 in the country. Teams, such as those mentioned above and others, could try and sway the Scarlet Knights’ 22 commits away, but head coach Greg Schiano doesn’t believe it will happen.
“I don't really see that. I mean, what I think is our program is unique, and you either want to be part of it or you don't. And that's good. I like that. It's just been that way,” Schiano said. “The guys that we connect with, the guys that are people that we want in the program, I think they come to Rutgers because we are who we are. And if not playing is the reason that you wouldn't come then you probably weren't going to last very long anyway here.”
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The Scarlet Knights have added 11 transfers as well as Schiano begins to rebuild the program. Just like recruiting, other programs can try and cherry pick the top players from teams that aren’t playing this fall, but Schiano isn’t worried about that either. It starts with being open and honest.
“The concept of poaching, guys coming in and poaching players from our team, again, we talk openly and honestly with our guys. I like to hear from our players that our coaches are real with us. They keep it real,” Schiano said. “And we tell them exactly where they stand. I don't shy away from any of those subjects. I tell you guys that are the best players on the team people are going to reach out. They're not allowed to legally, but you're going to have intermediaries. You know what you're part of, and if this is what you want to be part of, don't even don't even go there.”
In the past, Schiano has always talked about finding players who love football and are passionate about it. He always mentions them being “Rutgers men”. Schiano has only been on board since December and he’s only been with his team for an ample amount of time due to COVID-19.
The brand is what it is and the building of relationships between the staff and players and the recruits is ongoing.
“I think we're at a point where our players understand who we are now,” Schiano said. “It's been very disjointed as you can imagine. You start with them in December, they go away for Christmas break, you get them back for a couple months, then you lose them for three months, then you come back. It's on again off again. I think what we've been able to do is work really hard at developing relationships with our current team, and developing relationships with our recruits. We have 32 guys that we signed in that first class that we're very, very pleased with and they are kind of guys and another bunch that are in the class of 21, they are committed and we're really excited about them. We feel like we got the right guys.”
Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.