You could say that the door was opened a bit last year upon the commitment of 4-star studs Kenny Britt and Kordell Young. It opened some more when Rutgers jumped out to a strong start this Fall. But would that be enough to entice the school's first consensus NJ #1 recruit in what has been, perhaps forever? That question was answered today when Piscataway lineman Anthony Davis committed to Rutgers in front of a national audience during the Army All American game.
"Their program is on the rise and they continue to get better year by year, and I want to be part of it," Davis told the country during the half-time segment. The announcement was followed by an RU "chop", a movement made famous by the Rutgers squad this year.
Davis is the 21st commitment in a Rutgers recruiting class that is already the strongest in the program's history. It is a group that includes 9 of the top 30 players in the state according to Rivals.com. Considering the program only offered 13 of those 30, head coach Greg Schiano is nearly perfect in the state this year.
Davis went from a regional standout to a national superstar last year after a sensational showing at the Elite College Combine. Chris Melvin, the director of the combine, thinks that the hype is justified.
"A huge get for R.U.," said Melvin, who also runs the EliteRecruits.com recruiting service. "Coach Schiano and staff are all aware of this – that's why he is my top player in the state…A true impact player."
With Davis, Melvin says that a strong Rutgers offense line is only going to get stronger.
"Ray Rice is a very, very good back – there is no question about that, as is freshman Kordell Young. But without that offensive line, then they are good backs. That is just a fact," said Melvin. "I've seen Leonard, Rice, Young and Corcoran run, and that offensive line is the catalyst to the team's success. Now you add Anthony Davis to that line…That is scary."
Davis chose Rutgers over just about every other college program in the country. The final decision came down between the Scarlet Knights and Ohio State, with USC trailing a bit behind.
The commitment of Davis is something that caught the attention of Rivals.com's Big East producer, Dallas Jackson.
"What impresses me the most is being able to really watch the birth of a program," said Jackson. "Keeping Manny Abreu and Anthony Davis in state is the beginning of Rutgers building the walls around the 'State of Rutgers.' By keeping the top-tier talent at home and keeping the Notre Dame and Penn States from recruiting the area, it will keep Rutgers in the national spotlight."
ScarletNation.com and Anthony Davis: Where our paths have crossed
Fall 2005: ScarletNation.com writer Mark Pszonak caught Davis in action several times as his squad raced to the North 2, Group 4 state final. It was then that Davis first jumped onto our radar.
Spring 2006: Davis made a big impression at the Elite College Combine, particularly during his battles with stud Marvin Austin during the one-on-one sessions.
Late Spring 2006: Davis was possibly even more impressive at the Nike Combine, despite giving it less of his attention. The event, which was held at Rutgers University, gave him the chance to have some fun and work out with the tight ends. Despite his enormous size, Davis showed glimpses of the athleticism that was making college coaches salivate.
Summer 2006: Davis headlined the first ever Premier Showcase, held at TEST Sports Club. Working out alongside studs such as Desmond Stapleton, Al-Ghaffaar Lane, and Brandon Bullock, Davis once again showed why he was the top dog in the Northeast.
Fall 2006: ScarletNation.com writer Mark Pszonak caught Davis in action against Sayreville, while Pszonak and fellow writer John Otterstedt caught him against Franklin. Davis didn't disappoint in either game.
Don't miss our photo feature from Piscataway's season-ending matchup with Franklin.