-Courtesy of Rutgers University
Piscataway, NJ - Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano announced that 21 high school standouts have signed National Letters of Intent to play football for the Scarlet Knights beginning in the fall of 2007. The recruiting class, ranked by several recruiting services in the nation's top 30, included five offensive linemen, four defensive ends, three defensive backs, two defensive linemen, two linebackers and one fullback, tailback, tight end, wide receiver and place-kicker each.
"I am extremely happy with the quality young men who signed with Rutgers today", said Schiano. "They fit in nicely with our team in all ways."
Schiano also announced Wednesday that two members of the 2006 Rutgers recruiting class - defensive end Matthew Hardison and linebacker Antonio Lowery -- have enrolled at Rutgers in January and will be able to participate in spring practice.
2007 Rutgers Football Recruiting Class:
Linebacker – 6-3, 220
Union City, N.J./Union Hill HS
One of the top linebacker prospects in the nation … three-year starter at Union City High School for head coach Joe Rotondi … listed as the No. 2 weakside linebacker prospect in the country by Scout.com and the No. 11 outside linebacker nationally by Rivals.com … fourth-rated player in New Jersey according to Rivals.com … rated as the No. 144 prospect in the country by ESPN.com and is a Rivals.com Top 250 recruit … Second Team Associated Press All-State selection … recorded 100 tackles with five sacks, three interceptions and four blocked kicks as a senior … scored eight touchdowns on offense … First-Team All-Hudson County selection by the Star-Ledger .
Coach Rotondi on Abreu: “Manny is a tremendously gifted athlete. He runs like a wide receiver, hits like a linebacker and has the size of a defensive end. When he is in the game, he is all over the field, from sideline to sideline making plays. Along with Pedro Sosa (current Rutgers offensive lineman), they are the two best players I have ever coached.”
Wide Receiver – 6-0, 160
Boca Raton, Fla./West Boca Raton HS
Speedy wide receiver from South Florida … three-year starter at West Boca Raton High School for head coach Willie Dodaro … split time between wide receiver and quarterback as a senior … finished season with 12 receptions for 234 yards and one touchdown … 7-for-7 passing for 123 yards and four touchdown passes in his only start at quarterback … three interceptions on defense … rated as the No. 69 wide receiver prospect in the country and the No. 83 prospect in the state of Florida according to Rivals.com … Second Team All-Big Schools selection by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Classes 4-6A) … helped guide West Boca Raton to a 9-2 record and first playoff appearance in school history … was invited to play in the Outback All-Star Game in Royal Palm Beach, featuring players from the Treasure Coast vs. Palm Beach area student-athletes.
Coach Dodaro on Alexis: “Robinson has a lot of tools – he has speed, he can throw and he can catch. To me, he can be the next Antwaan Randle El with his versatility.”
Fullback – 6-1, 255
Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley HS
Bruising fullback with 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash … one of the top prospects in Maryland … three-year starter for head coach Fred Kim at Seneca Valley High School at both fullback and outside linebacker … Rivals.com ranked Brooks as the No. 20 middle linebacker prospect in the nation and the No. 7 prospect in the state of Maryland … totaled 532 yards on 66 carries and seven touchdowns as a senior … averaged 8.1 yards per carry … Second Team All-Met honors according to the Washington Post at linebacker … First-Team All-County and All-League selection … Seneca Valley finished with a combined record of 27-6 over Brooks’ three-year career as a starter.
Coach Kim on Brooks: “Jourdan has tremendous athletic ability. He is so strong and has tremendous explosiveness. He has the athletic ability of a scat back and the power of a fullback.. He is a great blocker with soft hands and has tremendous potential at the next level.”
Offensive Line – 6-6, 350
Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway HS
Massive offensive lineman who is regarded as one of the top prospects in the nation … three-year starter for head coach Dan Higgins at Piscataway High School … Scout.com lists Davis as the nation’s second-ranked offensive tackle and a five-star recruit … Rivals.com lists Davis as one of the nation’s top 100 recruits … Parade First-Team All-American … considered by most recruiting services the top prospect in New Jersey … the first No. 1 prospect in the Garden State to sign with Greg Schiano at Rutgers … played in the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio and was a finalist for the National Player of the Year in the prep ranks … First-Team All-American by USA Today … First Team All-State selection by the Associated Press and Star-Ledger … more than 70 pancake blocks for his career … received more than 50 scholarship offers.
Coach Higgins on Davis: “He was the most dynamic offensive or defensive lineman to play at Piscataway, which says a lot with so many Division I players we have had. The unique part about Anthony is his great athleticism and size along with his willingness to improve as a player.”
Defensive End – 6-2, 235
Homestead, Fla./Homestead HS
Highly regarded defensive end from Dade County … played for head coach Bobby McCray at Homestead, the same high school of current Rutgers All-American defensive tackle Eric Foster … ranked as the No. 13 recruit in Dade County by the Miami Herald … three-year starter at defensive end … 62 tackles and 12 sacks as a senior as his team reached the regional semifinals in Florida’s Class 6A playoffs … Honorable Mention All-Dade County selection by the Miami Herald.
Coach McCray on Farrington: “Jamiel is a hard-working young man and comes from a good family. He is a real student of the game and has a tremendous work ethic.”
Defensive End – 6-4, 255
Miramar, Fla./Miramar HS
One of the top prospects in Broward County … played for head coach Rodney Gray at Miramar High School … two-year starter who played tight end, defensive end and linebacker … ranked as the No. 13 recruit in Broward County by the Miami Herald … selected to play in the Broward-Dade All-Star game … named First-Team All-Broward on defense by the Miami Herald … impressive senior season included 137 tackles, four sacks and four interceptions … ranked as the No. 100 defensive end prospect in the nation by Scout.com.
Coach Gray on Francis: “Justin is a good, athletic kid who moves well for a player his size. His upside is that he has a good frame and should be able to bulk up in the weight room. I think he will be a solid player at Rutgers.”
Defensive End – 6-3, 220
Margate, Fla./Coconut Creek HS
Intriguing defensive end prospect from South Florida … played for head coach Dan Marguriet at Coconut Creek High School … played just two years of high school football at Coconut Creek, joining the team his junior season … listed as the No. 21 recruit in Broward County by the Miami Herald … First-Team All-Broward defensive selection by the Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel … totaled 75 tackles, eight sacks, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions as a senior … returned one interception 56 yards for a touchdown … ranked as the No. 69 strongside linebacker in the nation according to Scout.com … played both defensive end and linebacker as a senior … finished with 12 sacks his junior year at defensive end.
Coach Marguriet on Freeny: “Jonathan was an outstanding high school prospect who started late and led our team to the district title. He has a terrific work ethic and loves playing football. I think his future is limitless. He is going to be a great addition to the Rutgers program.”
Defensive End – 6-4, 250
Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township HS
Originally a member of the 2006 Rutgers recruiting class who enrolled in January and will be able to participate in spring practice … versatile performer who has played in all phases of the game – on defense as defensive end and linebacker, on offense as a tight end, and on special teams… had 80 tackles, playing mainly at linebacker as a senior in 2005 for head coach Dom Lepore at Freehold Township High School … registered 30 solo stops, five sacks, two forced fumbles – on offense, he had 10 receptions for 150 yards as a tight end … rated the No. 54 inside linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com, as well as the state's No. 22 prospect in 2005 … Prep Star All-East selection … earned All-District honors … also a standout basketball player and weight man on the track and field team.
Coach Lepore on Hardison: “Matt is just a terrific athlete who projects as a rush end coming off the edge. He has great explosion. As a junior, he had never touched a shot put before, but he came out for the track team and ended up throwing 55 feet and making the Meet of Champions. That's the kind of explosion he has.”
Defensive Back – 5-11, 180
East Orange, N.J./East Orange HS
The No. 1 rated cornerback prospect in New Jersey according to Rivals.com … listed as the No. 14 overall prospect in the state and the nation’s 35th-rated cornerback by Rivals.com … played for head coach Marion Bell at East Orange High School … Star-Ledger First-Team All-Essex on defense at cornerback … finished senior season with 42 tackles, two interceptions, eight pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries … also kicked 15 extra points … three-year starter … played seven different positions as a freshman, including quarterback, running back, linebacker, safety, cornerback, place-kicker and punter.
Coach Bell on Hutchins: ““For a cornerback, Al-Majid is very physical. He has good size and tackles very well. I think he will make an immediate impact, especially with his excellent cover skills. He is used to covering players one-on-one, which translates well to the collegiate game.”
Linebacker – 6-3, 200
East Orange, N.J./Paterson Catholic HS
Fourth-ranked linebacker prospect in New Jersey according to Rivals.com … played on the prep level for head coach Benji Wimberly at Paterson Catholic High School … three-year starter who played both defensive end and outside linebacker … 24th-ranked prospect in the state of New Jersey overall by Rivals.com and the No. 63 prospect nationally at defensive end by Scout.com … Second Team All-State selection by the Associated Press … strong senior season with 75 tackles, 12 sacks and blocked four punts … All-Passaic selection on defense by the Star-Ledger and Bergen Record … during his career at Paterson Catholic, the Cougars finished 40-2 … 13.5 sacks and 74 tackles as a junior … invited to play in the inaugural East-West High School All-Star game in Orlando.
Coach Wimberly on Lane: “Al-Ghaffaar is a bolt of lighting. He comes off the edge so quickly. He has a great frame and when he fills out in the weight room, he is going to be a monster on the football field.”
Defensive Back - 6-0, 190
Germantown, Md./Northwest HS
Third-rated linebacker prospect in Maryland according to Rivals.com (fellow Rutgers commitment Jourdan Brooks was the No. 2 linebacker prospect) … No. 23 safety prospect in the nation by Scout.com … played for head coach Randy Trivers at Northwest High School … Washington Post All-Met Defensive Player of the Year … played linebacker, running back, wide receiver, quarterback and kickoff and punt returner for the Bulls … recorded 63 tackles, including 15 for loss with seven sacks and two interceptions … averaged more than 10 yards per carry and six of his 10 total touchdowns came on plays of 30 yards or longer … Associated Press First-Team All-State selection.
Coach Trivers on LeFeged: “Joe is a tremendously versatile football player who could play a number of positions on the next level and play them well. He has a great combination of explosiveness, speed, instincts and physicality. He goes from Point A to Point B very fast and gets there with some bad intentions. Joe is also an outstanding return man as well with sure hands and can make people miss and break tackles. He has a phenomenal attitude. He is a very positive teammate and a humble young man.”
Antonio Lowery *
Linebacker – 6-1, 210
Miami, Fla./Christopher Columbus HS
Originally a member of the 2006 Rutgers recruiting class who enrolled in January and will be able to participate in spring practice … All-America selection by PrepStar … three-year starter for head coach Chris Merritt … rated No. 28 outside linebacker in the nation by ESPN.com in 2005 … rated No. 51 outside linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com … Rated in the top 40 pre-season prospects in Florida by Rivals.com … ranked as the ninth-best linebacker by the Orlando Sentinel … finished senior season with 51 tackles, two interceptions and five forced fumbles in six games … anchored a defense that surrendered just seven points per game … selected to play for the South team in North-South Florida All-Star game … also started three years in basketball … earned All-Dade County (6A-4A) honors by the Miami Herald … Columbus finished second in the state in 6A in 2005, finishing 10-1 and recording the first undefeated regular season in school history … led Explorers to their third-consecutive District title … Columbus recorded a 24-8 record during Lowery’s career … led Miami-Dade County in rebounds with over 10 per game in 2005.
Coach Merritt on Lowery: “Antonio is a very physical tackler. He shut down half the football field for us each game. He is a kid that will always get to the football and loves creating turnovers.”
Defensive Back – 6-0, 205
Hopatcong, N.J./Hopatcong HS
2006 Gatorade New Jersey State Player of the Year … finished remarkable career as the all-time leader in New Jersey state history with 7,589 rushing yards and 80 touchdowns … played for head coach Paul Reduzzi at Hopatcong High School and was a four-year starter… appeared in the January 11, 2007 edition of Sports Illustrated in the “Faces in the Crowd” section … 38th all-time in high school football history nationally in career rushing yards … completed second straight 2,000-yard season as a senior with 2,079 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns … on defense at linebacker, recorded 54 tackles, four sacks, three interceptions and nine pass breakups … seventh in the state in scoring as a senior with 160 points … second-best single-game rushing total in New Jersey as a senior with 396 yards on 31 carries and four touchdowns vs. Jefferson High School … First Team All-State selection by the Associated Press and Star-Ledger.
Coach Reduzzi on Martinek: “Joe is a tremendous individual and tremendous athlete. With the success we had on the field the last four years was a result of Joe helping his teammates and making them better on and off the field.”
Offensive Line - 6-6, 300
York, Pa./William Penn HS
Towering offensive tackle with good athleticism for a player of his size … two-year starter for head coach Matt Oretega at William Penn High School … rated as the No. 45 offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 25 prospect in Pennsylvania by Rivals.com … No. 60 offensive tackle nationally according to Scout.com … Second-Team All-League honoree … played in the Pennsylvania East-West All-Star Game in Altoona, Pa.
Coach Oretega on Muldrow: “Richard is a raw talent. He is so big and is still not done growing. He was unanimously named a team captain and is a positive role model. He has great character and terrific work ethic – he is the type of player who will maximize his potential.”
Offensive Line – 6-6, 290
Trenton, N.J./Trenton Central HS
Second-ranked defensive end prospect in New Jersey according to Rivals.com … played for head coach Ralphiel Mack at Trenton Central High School … three-year starter who played offensive tackle, defensive tackle and defensive end … listed as the No. 30 strongside defensive end in the country by Rivals.com … No. 23 offensive tackle nationally by Scout.com … First-Team All-Colonial Valley Conference selection by The Trentonian.
Coach Mack on Newell: “I think Keith will be an impact player on a high level at Rutgers. He has a massive frame and has very good feet for a person of his size. Keith has yet to tap into his full potential and I think he will be able to do so at Rutgers.”
Tailback -- 5-10, 180
Somerville, N.J./Somerville HS
Ranked the No. 32 all-purpose player in the nation by Rivals.com and the No. 7 prospect in New Jersey ... three-year starter for head coach Kevin Carty at Somerville High School … Carty spent six seasons as the wide receiver coach at Rutgers from 1984-89 … one of the fastest athletes in the state, with personal-best times of 10.97 in the 100 meters and 21.95 in the 200 on the track last spring ... won the Skyland Conference and Somerset County titles in both events ... rushed for 1,688 yards and scored 17 touchdowns while averaging 8.7 yards per carry as a senior ... also caught 15 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns ... ran for 245 yards vs. Hackettstown and for 214 yards vs. Bernards ... named Third-Team All-State by the Star-Ledger and was a First-Team All-Somerset County selection ... earned First-Team honors by the Courier-News in both his senior and junior seasons ... rushed for 1,229 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior ... also an outstanding cornerback who had nine interceptions over his final two seasons and ranked No. 32 at the position nationally by Scout.com.
Coach Carty on Robinson: “Mason’s biggest attribute is his flexibility and versatility. The kid has so many things going for him – he has toughness and competitiveness and has great speed, not just track speed. He is a football player who runs fast and can play several different positions, including wide receiver, running back, cornerback or as a kick returner. Mason is truly a great kid.”
Offensive Line – 6-4, 290
Quakertown, Pa./Quakertown HS
Another top offensive line recruit from the state of Pennsylvania … rated as the No. 28 prospect in the state and the 35th-ranked offensive guard in the nation by Rivals.com … four-year starter for head coach Jon Donnelly at Quakertown High School … Scout.com named Ruch the 32nd-ranked guard in the country … First-Team Class AAAA Associated Press All-State honors as a senior, becoming the first player in school history to achieve the honor … Philadelphia Inquirer All-Area First Team … Harrisburg Patriot-News “Platinum 33” team selection … Third-Team All-State selection by the PA Football News … First-Team All-Area honoree by the Morning Call and Intelligencer … durable player who made 47 career starts and missed just one game in his career due to injury in his freshman season … did not allow a sack his senior year and yielded just one sack as a junior … one of 50 recipients of the Mini Max Award for excellence in high school football, as awarded by the Maxwell Club.
Coach Donnelly on Ruch: “Caleb is a tenacious run blocker. He finishes blocks extremely well and has great feet for a player of his size. I think he is prepared as a freshman strength-wise to compete right away for playing time. As a four-year starter, I think he has the proper mentality to come in right away and perform.”
Tight End – 6-4, 230
Miami, Fla./Miami Sunset HS
One of the top tight end prospects in the Miami area … listed as the No. 73 tight end prospect in the nation by Scout.com … three-year starter for head coach Jayson Malkin at Miami Sunset High School … No. 12 ranked recruit in Dade County by the Miami Herald … First-Team All-Dade selection according to the Miami Herald … FHSAA Third-Team All-State tight end … … played tight end, defensive end and defensive tackle in the prep ranks … caught nine passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns as a senior … known as a solid blocker in Sunset’s run-oriented offense … team advanced to the regional quarterfinals in class 6A in Florida, the state’s highest classification for football … played both defensive end and tight end during his prep career.
Coach Malkin on Ruiz: “I think Fabian is a great kid with a great work ethic and attitude. He has a ton of untapped potential and has some abilities he doesn’t realize he has. I certainly enjoyed working with him and wish we had him another year.”
Linebacker – 6-4, 220
Gibbstown, N.J./Paulsboro HS
Rated the 25th best overall prospect in New Jersey by Rivals.com … three-year starter at linebacker for head coach Glenn Howard … also served as the Red Raiders’ starting tight end and punter … posted 93 tackles, including 61 solo stops as a senior … also had 10 sacks,12 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and eight pass deflections last fall … Star-Ledger Second-Team All-State … Associated Press Third-Team All-State honoree … listed as the No. 19 strongside linebacker in the nation by Scout.com … two-time First Team All-Conference, All-Area and All-South Jersey selection by the Philadelphia Inquirer … led Paulsboro to a 10-2 record and the Group I State Championship for the second-straight year as a senior … named the Touchdown Club of Southern Jersey Lineman of the Year and named to the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club All-South Jersey Team as a senior … the Red Raiders were a combined 30-6 in his three years as a varsity starter … totaled 85 tackles, including five sacks as a junior … also a standout wrestler, finished sixth and fourth in the state as a sophomore and junior, respectively … owns a 120-15 career record midway through his senior season on the mat.
Coach Howard on Silvestro: “Alex is the most productive defensive player we have had here in my 20 years as head coach. He has been a pleasure to coach during his career. He set a very high standard of excellence for other plays to emulate. He is a tough hitter and dominating blocker who makes big plays.”
Offensive Line – 6-5, 320
Union, N.J./Union HS
One of New Jersey’s top offensive line prospects and the younger brother of former Rutgers center Darnell Stapleton … three-year starter for head coach Marc Crisafi at Union High School … played both left tackle on offense and defensive tackle … No. 57 offensive tackle prospect in the nation according to Scout.com … Rivals.com listed Stapleton as the No. 30 prospect in New Jersey … Star-Ledger First-Team All-State selection … Third-Team Associated Press All-State selection … helped guide team to 7-4 record as a senior.
Coach Crisafi on Stapleton: “I think Desmond’s strengths are that he can stay on his feet and block in space. He is a good pass blocker and is a great pulling lineman with great feet. If he continues to progress like he has in high school, I think he will be a mainstay in the lineup and a quality football player for several years at Rutgers.”
San San Te
Place-Kicker – 5-9, 165
Conover, N.C./Hickory HS
Ranked as the No. 5 place-kicking prospect in the nation by Scout.com … three-year starter for head coach John Worley at Hickory High School … ranked as the nation’s No. 2 kicker after the Fifth Annual Kicking and Snapping Event, sponsored by Nike and hosted by Chris Sailer Kicking … Rivals.com listed Te as the country’s seventh-ranked prospect … strong, accurate leg … 34-of-35 on PATs as a senior with seven field goals … also served as the team’s punter … helped guide team to 9-3 record and the first round of the state playoffs … excellent all-around athlete who also played soccer his first three years in high school and is a sprinter on the track team … named Honorable Mention All-State … First-Team All-County and All-Conference.
Coach Worley on Te: “San San has a terrific work ethic. He is very athletic for a kicker. He loves the staff at Rutgers and likes the idea of learning from Jeremy Ito. He will do the things needed to be successful in the classroom and on the field at the next level.”
Defensive Line – 6-5, 280
Hamilton, N.J./Nottingham HS
Rated as the No. 11 prospect in New Jersey and the 31st-ranked defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com … four-year starter for head coach Jon Adams at Nottingham High School … led team with 12.5 sacks as a senior, despite facing constant double-teams … established school records for single-season sacks (12.5) and career sacks (33) … tremendous senior season included 92 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and an amazing eight forced fumbles … recovered three fumbles and also had one interception … led team to Central Jersey Group III Championship Game as a junior at Rutgers Stadium … team finished 2005 campaign 10-2 overall, including a school-record 10-straight victories … First-Team All-Area for Delaware Valley, a region that includes five New Jersey counties and Bucks County in Pennsylvania … finished second in the Lineman of the Year by the 12th Man TD Club.
Coach Adams on Thomas: “Wayne has tremendous upside. He is huge, extremely quick and explosive. He has unlimited potential in terms of growth and runs well to the ball. He played his best football against very good competition. I really don’t think he has hit his full potential; the sky’s the limit. He will be in an excellent program with an excellent coach.”
Defensive Line – 6-6, 250
Bear, Del./St. Mark’s HS
First Team All-State in Delaware by both the Interscholastic Football Coaches Association and Delaware Broadcasters and Sportswriters Association … two-year starter for head coach John Wilson … missed the first three games of senior season with a sprained ACL, returning to spark St. Mark’s on a six-game winning streak … St. Mark’s finished 9-3 and ranked No. 4 in the state … two-time First Team All-Conference selection … ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect in the state of Delaware and the No. 60 strongside defensive end by Rivals.com … moved to defensive tackle to fill a hole as a senior, posting 45 tackles, including nine tackles for loss, while facing double teams the majority of the season … 36 tackles, including six tackles for loss and three sacks at his defensive end spot as a junior … also a scholastic basketball standout but chose not to play as a senior to concentrate solely on football.
Coach Wilson on Wynn: “Desmond truly fits the mold of Rutgers, gaining notice and becoming a highly-regarded prospect as the season progressed last fall. He really earned the respect of the other coaches. He was a real leader, doing the job, physically, academically and socially. He has tremendous potential at the college level and we are really going to miss him.”