Thursday, April 17, 2008
Last updated: Thursday April 17, 2008, EDT 3:04 PMBY ADITI KINKHABWALAMega-quarterback prospect Tom Savage reportedly will announce his intention to attend Rutgers tomorrow afternoon.
Neither Savage nor his Cardinal O’Hara (Pa.) coach Dan Algeo would comment about the report in The Delaware County Times (Pa.), but recruiting expert Mike Farrell said even the strong rumor of a Rutgers selection is “huge” for the Scarlet Knights.
“This is as big as it gets,” the national analyst for Rivals.com said.
The 6-4, 220-pound Savage is Rivals’ sixth-best quarterback prospect, its 24th best overall recruit and Rutgers’ securing his commitment, Farrell said, “means they won a battle you don’t necessarily expect them to win consistently.”
Savage is a big, thick pro-style quarterback with what Farrell described as an excellent understanding of the pocket, and an arm evaluators all over the country love. Highlight videos on YouTube show the soon-to-be senior – who’ll turn 18 next week – stretching the field, seaming the ball into tight spots and making just about any throw imaginable.
A broken foot kept Savage to just seven games last fall, but he still threw for 809 yards and eight touchdowns, and four months ago, he earned MVP honors at the U.S. Army All-American Combine in San Antonio. In three varsity seasons, he’s 190-for-426 for 2,457 yards and 20 touchdowns, and in the last few months, has amassed a list of offers that includes nearly all the traditional top-25 powers from Michigan to Tennessee to Miami. Farrell said Penn State, after losing out on Ohio State-bound Terrelle Pryor, had made this eastern Pennsylvania product its priority.
Savage said in February he hoped to have his list whittled to five by Memorial Day and a choice by mid-August, but after taking a visit to Georgia last weekend – where coach Mark Richt told him he was one of only two quarterbacks the Bulldogs were recruiting – and spending Tuesday at Rutgers, he reportedly saw no reason to wait.
“If it is Rutgers,” Farrell said, “it will be because he fell in love with Greg Schiano.”
As of right now, nothing. Jefferson will be in his sophmore year (and starting) by Savage's frosh year and redshirting him won't be out of the question.
Regardless, it'll be on Savage's shoulders to win the gig. Don't forget, Schiano once benched the all-time leading passer in school history b/c he was getting out played in practice. I've seen how this man recruits, and he does not make false promises to players. Savage knows fully well that he's going to have to earn whatever he gets.
Sorry if I'm a little confused (don't follow college football very closely) but they said the "soon to be senior"? Does that mean this guy is committing to a college in his junior year? And, when does this rumor become official? Isn't there some national signing day or something? Thanks.
As a youngster growing up in New York City, Andre Civil said the only real college football presence that he was aware of was Penn State. Occasionally he heard about Syracuse, but never about Rutgers.
That began to change a few years ago, said the defensive end from Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn.
"All of a sudden you started hearing a lot about Rutgers and not all that much about Penn State," Civil said.
Rutgers' growing recruiting influence in two former Penn State strongholds -- New York City and eastern Pennsylvania -- continued yesterday and could as well today. Civil, a 6-3, 240-pounder, gave Rutgers a verbal commitment yesterday, with the likelihood that tight end Paul Carrezola of Neshaminy (Pa.) High School will do the same today when he announces his college decision at a press conference.
"Rutgers is definitely expanding its recruiting base, especially in New York," said recruiting expert Mike Farrell of Rivals.com. "It helps when you've gotten guys like Brian Leonard and Ray Rice. You can definitely use that. Eastern Pennsylvania has always been Penn State country -- until a few years ago. Now Rutgers is going in there and getting players that Penn State might normally get. That's impressive."
If the 6-3, 250-pound Carrezola chooses Rutgers over Pittsburgh, North Carolina State and Iowa today, it will mean four of the five players who have given head coach Greg Schiano commitments for 2009 are from either eastern Pennsylvania or New York City.
The Knights previously received commitments from highly rated quarterback Tom Savage of Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Pa. and from 6-6, 300-pound offensive lineman Jamal Wilson of South Shore High School in Brooklyn.
"The Rutgers coaches are really getting into New York now," said Civil. "I see that and I hear it from guys I talk to."
When Schiano originally outlined his recruiting plans for the "State of Rutgers," he said it included New Jersey, Florida and destinations within a two- to three-hour drive in any direction from Piscataway. But until recently, New Jersey and Florida had been supplying the Knights with most of their talent.
Since the beginning of 2007, however, Rutgers has signed offensive linemen Caleb Ruch of Quakertown, Pa., and Richard Muldrow of York, Pa. Ruch, a redshirt freshman, is listed as the starter at right guard for the fall.
The recent New York talent haul has included defensive tackle Scott Vallone of Central Islip and offensive lineman Devon Watkis of Coram. Both will be among the incoming freshmen this fall.
In addition, wide receiver Keith Stroud enrolled at Rutgers in January after spending a year at a prep school, but played his high school football at Fort Hamilton High in Brooklyn.
"It's something the Rutgers coaches had to do because you can't win a national championship just with kids from New Jersey," said Farrell. "Rutgers has a geographical advantage in New York and eastern Pennsylvania and they're starting to utilize that advantage. New York, especially, should be an extension of New Jersey for them. Eastern Pennsylvania is different because Penn State has been so strong there for so long. But Rutgers is getting some good players from there now."
Civil, whose strengths are his quickness and athleticism, said he had offers from Georgia Tech, Clemson, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Connecticut and Hofstra. Civil is among the 472 high school seniors (Savage is another) to be nominated to the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Ninety will be chosen to play in the Jan. 3 game in San Antonio.