Rutgers unveiled its 2011 recruiting class Wednesday, and Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano spoke about what he likes in each player:
Jonathan Aiken, CB, 5-10, 185, Dillard High (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Schiano says: “He came to our camp and is a really explosive defensive back. He is going to be able to play either corner or safety. He is versatile that way. Actually, he has started school here at the beginning of second semester, so it is a great advantage for him. I am very excited about his talents and the kind of competitor he is.”
Mike Bimonte, QB, 6-3, 215, Manalapan High (Englishtown, N.J)
Schiano says: “He is a guy in camp that we got to know very well. He is going to be a great addition to our program and had a really good senior year after he received our scholarship, which is always nice to see. He is a guy that is going to come in and compete at the quarterback position. I think one of the things we were able to do this year is solidify some depth at the quarterback position.”
Paul Canevari, RB, 5-10, 212, Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J)
Schiano says: “He is really a tremendously tough, hard-nosed football player. He had some great statistics on a great football team, a championship football team up at Don Bosco. He is another one of (DPB coach) Greg Toal’s guys that goes on to play Division I football and we are really happy to have Paul coming. He is going to play in the backfield and I think a versatile guy in that right. We are excited about having him.”
Charles Davis, CB, 6-0, 187, Neptune (N.J) High
Schiano says: “Charles is a really fine athlete. He played it all. We are going to play him at defensive back. I think he is a guy that will hit you. He can sure run. He was a guy that was in our summer camp like so many of these guys and ran exceptionally well. We are very excited about his potential.
“Charles is a really fine athlete. He played it all. We are going to play him at defensive back. I think he is a guy that will hit you. He can sure run. He was a guy that was in our summer camp like so many of these guys and ran exceptionally well. We are very excited about his potential.”
Anthony DiPaula, P, 6-0, 170, St. John Vianney High (Holmdel, N.J.)
Schiano says: “Anthony is a punter which, obviously with Teddy Dellaganna graduating, we have a need there. Again, we had him in our kicking camp and really like him and the best part about it is he started classes here as well a couple weeks ago. He is going to be able to punt during spring football. We will put him in some pressure-packed situations to get him ready to see if he can do that next season.”
Quentin Gause, LB, 6-2, 220, Bishop Kearney High (Rochester, N.Y.)
Schiano says: “Quentin is an incredibly gifted athlete. He is big, strong, fast, can run and hit… he does it all at the linebacker position. He is a very creative, talented guy off the field as well. I have enjoyed recruiting him. You get to see a lot of different things that he puts together. He is a very deep thinker and a guy that is going to be fun for all of you to deal with in the interview process. He is an excellent football player and an excellent person.”
Kyle George, DE, 6-4, 240, Willingboro (N.J.) High
Schiano says: “(Willingboro coach) Reggie Lawrence has had a long history of guys over the years and Kyle is another one that is going to play defensive end for us. We had him in our camp and he was a tremendous pass rusher. I think he has gotten bigger as a senior and is going to continue to get bigger when Jay Butler gets his hands on him. He can really be a tremendous pass rusher off the edge.”
Dallas Hendrikson, C, 6-1, 290, Iowa Western CC (Council Bluffs, Iowa)
Schiano says: “He has been in school here for the last couple of weeks doing a great job according to our guys. You can see the maturity there. He went to Iowa Western at about 240 and he is up to about 295 now. He is certainly a guy that is going to be right in the middle, in the thick of it competing for the starting center position.”
Savon Huggins, RB, 6-0, 197, St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.)
Schiano says: “He is one of (SPP coach) Rich Hansen’s guys up at Saint Peter’s. Savon probably doesn’t need much of an introduction from me. He was a guy that was coveted by everyone in the country. He is a guy that we have been able to build a really close relationship with over time and I think in the end that is what makes and breaks recruiting is those relationships.
“With he and his family, it is going to be an exciting time. He is a guy that has all the talent in the world and has all the skills to be a great player. In addition to those skills, he is a very bright guy who has a great work ethic. He works very hard on and off the field. I am looking forward to coaching Savon and like I said, we have a great relationship. I think he understands exactly where he is coming and type of people that he is going to be with and that is why he chose Rutgers.”
Max Issaka, DE, 6-2, 242, Woodbridge (N.J) High
Schiano says: “He is a very explosive defensive end. He is another guy that I think can really do a lot of things for us and he can certainly rush the passer. He is very explosive off the ball. He is going to be good in some other things that we do where we stunt people. He is very quick and plays with great pad level. He is a very excitable guy. He is a guy that has charisma and plays the game with a lot of enthusiasm.”
Myles Jackson, DE, 6-3, 220, Henderson High (Westchester, Pa.)
Schiano says: “He is a guy that we had seen early on and were impressed with and then I went to go see another one of our recruits, Tyler Kroft, play live and Myles was playing on the other team and boy did he light it up that night rushing off the edge. We immediately offered him and were very happy he decided to come to Rutgers. He is a very talented guy and with that kind of body can do a lot of different things.
“He played both sides of the ball in high school and I think he has that flexibility although I don’t know if we would mess around because he has a rare ability to come off the edge.”
Kaleb Johnson, OL, 6-4, 285, Edward H. White High (Jacksonville)
Schiano says: “He is a guy that we had in camp and just fell in love with. We always hoped that we would be able to keep that relationship strong enough to get him to come here at Rutgers and I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to have him. He is an excellent football player. This is only his second year of wrestling and he is ranked third in heavyweight in the state of Florida. He is going on to districts this week so we wish him the best. He is just going to be a very good addition to our offensive line.”
Tejay Johnson, WR, 6-0, 170, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy
Schiano says: “Tejay is an extremely talented wide receiver/defensive back. He is very fast. He is one of the fastest guys in the state of New Jersey as a senior in high school. As a junior, I believe he won the 100 meters. One of the things that is consistent in our philosophy is we are going to recruit speed. There is absolutely no substitute for speed in the game of football and Tejay is going to add to that level of speed on our football team.”
Kenneth Kirksey, DT, 6-3, 290, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy
Schiano says: “He started mid semester and is training with our guys now which is, again, critical. He is a guy that is physically developed that with some hard work this spring and summer has a chance to go on and compete for time in the d-line. Kenneth is an explosive defensive lineman. You are going to get to see that here this spring. He really has unusual explosion for anybody, especially a defensive lineman.”
Tyler Kroft, WR, 6-3, 220, Downingtown East High (Exton, Pa.)
Schiano says: “(Downingtown East coach) Mike Matta has just been really tremendous. This is our second guy in two years from Downingtown East. We are thrilled to have Tyler. He is a very talented tight end. He flexes out, can play in the box and is a very talented guy. He runs routes like a wide receiver and is a good blocker. I am excited about getting him here and I can’t wait to let Jay Butler get his hands on him and turn that 225 into 255. Then he will become that complete tight end.
“Again, it is great to have back-to-back years at Downingtown East with [Taj] Alexander a year ago and now with Tyler Kroft. They have a great program in the eastern part of Pennsylvania.”
Keith Lumpkin, OT, 6-8, 275, St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J)
Schiano says: “It is great to have teammates coming. I know it is neat for all the people up at Saint Peter’s Prep and for coach Hansen to have two of his guys coming into to play together. I am sure Savon enjoys the fact that he is running behind big No. 72 and that should be fun to watch in the future. Keith has been in our camps and is a tremendous athlete. Right now, he is playing basketball for Saint Peter’s Prep and at that size, moves very well. We are looking forward to him coming and his development as an offensive lineman.”
Ben Martin, RB, 5-10, 190, Absegami High (Absecon, N.J)
Schiano says: “He was actually coached by Dennis Scuderi, one of the guys that was on our staff a while back and went on to become a head high school coach down in South Jersey. Ben is a tremendous athlete and a tremendous running back. He has great explosion and is a downhill runner. He is a guy that I think is going to fit in perfectly in our program. He is very fast. We had him in our camp and he is very fast. That theme keeps coming up, but that is something that is very important to us is overall team speed.”
Djwany Mera, DE, 6-3, 265, Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Va.)
Schiano says: “Djwany is now enrolled here for second semester and looks great. He is very strong, especially for his age. The ability for him to compete this spring is going to be critical for next year and being able to put together some depth on the defensive line.”
Gary Nova, QB, 6-2, 210, Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J)
Schiano says: “We have had real good success with quarterbacks from Don Bosco Prep. Again, it is great to have teammates coming to play together. These two guys, together, were very dangerous for the No. 1 ranked team in New Jersey in Don Bosco Prep. Gary is a tremendous athlete. I got to watch him play basketball the other night. His vision and ability to run the show and his leadership all comes out in basketball as it did when you watched him play football so we are thrilled to have him here.
“I think he is going to fit right in. I know (offensive coordinator) Frank Cignetti and Gary have a great relationship and he and Gary are not going to miss a beat. Again, we have been able to build some depth at the quarterback position, which is critical.”
Al Page, DT, 6-3, 295, Christopher Columbus High (Bronx, N.Y,)
Schiano says: “You talk about another explosive defensive lineman, he is a big man. Those of you who have seen him know that. He has great explosion and I think will come here and the sky is the limit as far as his abilities. He is a very strong guy and a very physically developed guy as a senior in high school and I can’t wait to see him develop in our program.”
Miles Shuler, WR, 5-10, 170, Long Branch (N.J) High
Schiano says: “Miles, I hate to sound repetitive, but Miles is a very fast guy. He was a receiver, defensive back and played quarterback in high school for (coach) Dan George, who has been a long time Rutgers supporter. We have had many of his players here and we are just thrilled to be able to recruit another Long Branch player. Miles is the third-fastest kid in America coming out of high school… that is saying something.
“When you watch him play, he is not only fast in track but he plays with football speed and that doesn’t always transcend. Miles is a football player that also runs track, which is what we need. He is going to be a tremendous athlete and he has been a tremendous ambassador for our program during this recruiting process. He was challenging (recruiting coordinator) Tariq (Ahmad) to see who was going to get recruiting coordinator of the year. We love Miles and we love how much he loves Rutgers. He has always been a Rutgers guy. We can’t wait to get him here on campus and really get him started.”
Kevin Snyder, LB, 6-2, 210, Cumberland Valley High (Mechanicsburg, Pa.)
Schiano says: “Cumberland Valley has a tremendous program out in central Pennsylvania and I go back many years with head coach Tim Rimpfel. I just can’t tell you how happy we are to have Kevin come here. He is a linebacker that can really run. He is very athletic. He is a guy that you can leave in the game and not have to take off the field. That is important… it gives you some flexibility defensively. I am really looking forward to getting Kevin here and working with him because he has the opportunity to be a great football player.”
Daryl Stephenson, DT, 6-3, 275, Sayreville High (Parlin, N.J)
Schiano says: “It is great to continue that Sayreville connection with David Milewski last year and now with Daryl this year. He is a big guy. He is bigger than we have been up front. It is nice to start up there and then get them stronger and more explosive than having to put so much weight on them. Daryl is an incredibly gifted defensive lineman. We have had him in all our camps and he has spent a lot of time around here.
“When you watch him in high school he makes a tremendous amount of plays but I got to watch him in an all-star game on TV and wow did he stand out. I can’t wait to get him here. He is close and he will be by often this spring. I can’t wait to get him started.”
Marquise Wright, DT, 6-3, 270, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic High
Schiano says: “He is a tremendously gifted defensive lineman. He actually lined up at times last year and played tight end, that’s how good of an athlete he is. He has just great get-off and explosion. He is a guy that I am really glad he hung in there with us and I am thrilled to have him coming here. He is a tremendously gifted guy. He is a Jersey guy that knew all along he wants to be here and build it here in New Jersey. I can’t thank him enough for that.”