Rutgers football: Greg Schiano on the importance of an expanded Big Ten recruiting landscape

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Set for his third season back with Rutgers football, head coach Greg Schiano has had to adapt and adjust his recruiting map. Rutgers, now in the Big Ten, is recruiting like a Big Ten program with a much different recruiting outlook than two decades ago during his first stint with the Scarlet Knights.

Since Schiano’s return, Rutgers has expanded its recruiting blueprint to include more turf within the Midwest. In the last two recruiting cycles, Schiano has landed offensive linemen from Ohio. There were also legitimate Power Five recruits such as Indiana’s Demetrious Allen and Illinois athlete Rachad Rochelle who committed to the Scarlet Knights.

Where the emphasis was on New Jersey and Florida during the first go-around, Schiano is using ties in places like Ohio and other Big Ten hotbeds of talent to help with this second rebuild.

Areas that Rutgers, when in the new Big East under Schiano, simply didn’t pour a ton of resources or effort into.

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In an interview on Monday night with Larry Blustein on WQAM in south Florida, Schiano talked about this new recruiting scope and why he is focusing even more attention on the Midwest this time around.

“You look at our roster since we got back…You know, we’ve recruited young men from the state of Ohio, which I had spent three years there at Ohio State so I certainly developed some relationships, but also in Indiana, Illinois, all states where we play games where teams are in our league,” Schiano told Blustein on WQAM.

“It just makes sense, right? So and, you know, it’s amazing with Newark Airport, the number of nonstops that come from all over the country. So there really is no area at least…that you can’t go in and recruit, you know, whether it’s Cincinnati, Columbus or Cleveland or Indianapolis.”

Schiano said that at one point nearly two decades ago during his first Rutgers rebuild, he had 39 scholarship players on his roster from Florida.

The Florida pipeline is by no means dry, however.

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Given that the ‘Sunshine State’ was the foundation for the last Rutgers rebuild, Schiano is certainly not turning away from Florida talent. And since Florida is the deepest talent hotbed in the country, it certainly makes sense for Rutgers to continue to recruit the area.

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To that end, Rutgers has five verbals in the 2023 recruiting class from Florida.

“It’s always the most important is always going to be New Jersey and New York, right. That’s our backyard. And then Florida is you know, we used to say the state of Rutgers is New Jersey and anything that touches it, and then south Florida. And, you know, we still feel that way,” Schiano said in his interview with Blustein.

“There’s certainly more competition in Florida now than there’s ever been right in recruiting. And so we’re aware of that as well. You know, back when we were doing it, there weren’t all these different programs going down there and not as many at least. So I think everything is balanced. As I said earlier, we’re going to continue to recruit the heck out of South Florida and it’s that important to us.”

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