It was a busy week in the scarlet nation and that figures to continue through next weekend with a whole lot going on in the world of Rutgers sports. The Monday Morning Kickoff gets you caught up on all the action as a new week dawns in the scarlet nation.
A view from the gridiron (Rutgers Football)
It was an official visit weekend at Rutgers as six committed prospects made their way to Piscataway to spend a couple of days at their future home.
"Just how everybody reacted to each other and interacted, everybody was like best friends," said Anthony Cioffi, RU's first commit to the class of 2013. "It really made me feel like I was at home. I know I made the right choice."
Delon Stephenson, Dontea Ayres, Nadir Barnwell, Kemoko Turay and Christopher Laviano were the other weekend guests.
On the gridiron, South Brunswick athlete and RU commit TJ Taylor helped his Viking squad to its first-ever state title inside High Point Solutions Stadium on Saturday. Taylor will be back on campus next weekend for an official visit.
"I felt like I had a great game. The line gave us time to throw the ball," Taylor said. "And on defense, I watched film for a total of probably eight hours, every single clip that we had I watched. I just used that on the field and everything they did, I watched. So I was used to it."
A new commit surfaced last week when Australian punter Dean Crozier committed to spend his future in Piscataway.
"One day, I was watching the news and [LSU punter and fellow Australian native] Brad Wing came up," said the 6-foot-7, 24-year old Crozier. "I kind of researched him a little bit, saw his stats and felt like I could definitely do that if not better."
Last week also saw RU senior linebacker Khaseem Greene rack up award after award. He was named the Big East defensive player of the year and also earned Walter Camp and ESPN All-American awards.
"I'm just appreciative. I'm thankful to have my coaches, my family, definitely thankful to have my teammates," Greene said last week.
Last night at RU's 74th annual award banquet, Greene earned the Homer Hazel Trophy for the team's most valuable player. Steve Beauharnais won the award for defensive player of the year, Jawan Jamison won offensive player of the year and Wayne Warren earned special teams player of the year.
Greene and company will resume practice this morning with a start time of 9:30 a.m.
The take from center court (Rutgers Basketball)
Rutgers led by as many as 22 on Saturday night against Iona, hanging on for an 81-73 victory over Iona in the Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival. Five Scarlet Knights scored in double-figures, and Rutgers out-rebounded the Gaels 47-29.
Sophomore guard Myles Mack continued his torrid pace, scoring a team-high 19 points in 29 minutes, while junior wing Mike Poole snapped out of a season-long slump to chip in 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Poole had scored just 13 points all season before the outburst.
With the win, Rutgers improved to 5-2 on the season. They continue their non-conference slate tomorrow night at the RAC at 7:30 p.m. against George Washington of the Atlantic 10. It will be the Scarlet Knights' first home game in 21 days.
Life on the mat (Rutgers Wrestling)
The RU grapplers improved to 6-0 on Saturday with a pair of decisive wins inside the College Ave Gym. The first win came at the expense of Rider as the Scarlet Knights rolled to a 25-5 win. Following that, Rutgers downed Princeton by a count of 30-6.
On the day, RU wrestlers won 16 of 20 contested matches. Leading the way with two victories on the day was senior 174-pounder Greg Zannetti, senior 184-pounder Dan Rinaldi, junior 197-pounder Dan Seidenberg, redshirt freshman heavyweight Billy Smith and senior 125-pounder Joseph Langel.
Next up for Rutgers is a trip to the first collegiate wrestling event in the history of Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Dec. 16. Rutgers will participate in the "Grapple at the Garden" duals which will feature a total of 14 college wrestling programs. Rutgers will square off against Nebraska and Tennessee-Chattanooga, with action beginning at 10:30 a.m.