What Recruits Would a New (Greg Schiano) Staff Target?

Kristian Dyer

If and when it is made official that Greg Schiano is the next head coach at Rutgers, he will have to hit the ground running. Schiano would have a little less than a month before the early Signing Day to piece together his recruiting class. 

As such, he will need to quickly target players who not only fit needs on the roster but also can generate some excitement ‘On the Banks.’ 

And a priority will need to be given to re-building relationships in New Jersey, where Rutgers has struggled the past five years to recruit top-tier players effectively. The good news is that a few players are still open or potentially in the mix to flip if Schiano can put together the right sales pitch. 

Jalen Berger (Running Back/Don Bosco) – The four-star recruit is the consensus top player in the state. A commitment to play in the prestigious All-American Bowl, Berger just came off a weekend at Wisconsin where it was thought he might commit. With offers from Ohio State and Penn State, were Schiano to land the uncommitted Berger, it would send a ripple through the state. 

Berger should be the first recruit he contacts once he is named head coach. His star power would make recruiting the state easier and his ability to step in immediately and contribute can help Rutgers. Win-win. 

Isaiah Raikes (Defensive Tackle/ St. Augustine) – A commit to Texas A&M, it always seemed a bit odd that the four-star defensive lineman from south Jersey with no ties to the Lonestar State would choose the Aggies. Raikes has been solid in his commitment but this is a recruitment that could see a turn. 

Sources close to the player were surprised when he committed to the school as he was giving Rutgers a serious look. Now with Schiano in place, perhaps the stout defensive tackle could be swayed to stay home. Were he to commit, he likely slots in immediately as a starter. 

Chris Mayo (Offensive Guard/Peddie School) – Another player that Rutgers was involved with for awhile, Mayo is committed to West Virginia. The four-star lineman should be a priority recruit for Schiano as the team desperately needs depth along the offensive line. 

Mayo’s size and wingspan is that of a Big Ten offensive lineman. That can’t be said of many players currently on Rutgers’ roster. 

Michael Alaimo (Quarterback/St. Joseph’s) – The highest ranked quarterback in New Jersey, Alaimo is an obvious target for a new staff under Schiano. He is a solid verbal to Purdue but this is a recruitment that Rutgers should be on till the end. A quarterback, especially a four-star from New Jersey, could shake the perception up around the state. 

His brother is the starting tight end at Rutgers and that could have a certain allure. But depending on how Schiano builds his staff, Alaimo might be an interesting target. 

Others to Keep an Eye On 

Timber Creek cornerback Tahreeb Still was a target of the old staff. Given the strength of his high school program, it would make sense for a new staff to get on Still and try to flip the long, rangy defensive back who is a verbal to Maryland…Tirek Austin-Cave is currently a Miami pledge but he attended a Rutgers game as a visitor several weeks ago. The inside linebacker has good size and mobility and would add immediate depth to the two-deep…A hallmark of previous Rutgers teams under Schiano was speed and Pittsburgh commit Solomon DeShields has that. Could play anywhere in the secondary or possibly at wide receiver. Could be an impact player on special teams…The brother of current Rutgers wide receiver Bo Melton, defensive back Malachi Melton is a potential multi-year starter who could also blossom into a special teams ace…Muheem McCargo projects as a defensive back. The Temple commit is a possible flip, especially if a certain defensive coordinator becomes part of Schiano’s staff.