Filling The 2012 Needs: Mission Accomplished?

QB commit Blake Rankin

In early February, ScarletReport.com identified Rutgers' major needs in the 2012 class. More than five months late, the Scarlet Knights have 13 verbal commitments. But are the commitments filling the needs of the class? We re-visit those needs, and decide whether it is Mission Accomplished in the class.

A few days after Rutgers inked arguably its most talented collection of players in the 2011 class, ScarletReport.com identified eight key positions the Scarlet Knights had to recruit to balance out the roster.

Given Rutgers has 13 commitments and the start of training camp remains two weeks away, ScarleReport.com is taking this opportunity to review how Scarlet Knights are doing in those key areas.

1. Quarterback:
Rutgers identified Blake Rankin as the quarterback is wanted in the 2012 class. The Bloomsburg (Pa.) High standout was offered a year ago, and made so many visits to campus he should have been given the pass code to the Hale Center. He committed at the spring game, and gave the Scarlet Knights the quarterback they wanted in the class.
Mission Accomplished?: Yes

2. Offensive line:
Like the quarterback position, Rutgers identified Boyertown (Pa.) Area High offensive lineman Chris Muller last summer as a top target, built a great relationship with him, and got a commitment over the likes of Penn State and Florida. Add in one of the top centers in the nation in Archbishop Wood High's (Warminster, Pa.) Brandon Arcidiacono and athletic-but-raw Derrick Nelson of Archbishop Carroll High (Washington, D.C.), and the class looks very good.
Four-star offensive tackle Ryan Brodie of Long Branch (N.J.) High remains on the radar, and could complete an already strong offensive line class.
Mission Accomplished?: Yes

3. Defensive end:
Montclair (N.J.) High's Julian Pinnix-Odrick is a very nice pickup at one of the most difficult positions to recruit. He is big (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) and athletic, and once he refines his technique, can be a very good college player. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) defensive lineman five-star defensive lineman Darius Hamilton could make it a stellar class since he is currently being recruited as a defensive end.
Mission Accomplished?: Yes

4. Linebacker:
Saddle Brook (N.J.) High's Steve Longa's commitment gave the Scarlet Knights plenty of athleticism at the position, but the need for a middle linebacker remains. Getting Timber Creek Regional High (Erial, N.J.) four-star Quanzell Lambert would cap the class nicely. If not, Rutgers will have to make a decision whether to pursue another middle linebacker with limited scholarship ability.
Mission Accomplished?: To Be Determined

5. Safety:
This one remains open, but there is plenty of reason for optimism. The big dogs on the board are Don Bosco Prep four-star Elijah Shumate and St. Peter's Prep's (Jersey City, N.J.) D.J. Singleton. Both could ultimately turn into linebackers, but at this time they are being recruited as safeties, and landing either would fulfill this class requirement. Not getting one could send Rutgers back to the drawing board, or leave the Scarlet Knights waiting until 2013 because of the scholarship situation.
Mission Accomplished?: To Be Determined

6. Tight end:
There isn't a lot of talent to choose from in the northeast at this spot, but fortunately for Rutgers, it landed the best possible player at the position in St. Peter's Prep's Michael Giacone. The only way to top off recruiting at this position is if Rutgers lands Scottdale (Ariz.) Community College tight end Blake Jackson.
Mission Accomplished?: Yes

7. Running back:
Recruiting a quality tailback could have been a daunting task after landing five-star Savon Huggins in the 2011 class, but instead the Scarlet Knights used it to their advantage. Huggins helped recruit Archbishop Wood's Desmon Peoples, who was identified early as Rutgers' top running back target in the 2012 class.
Add Sayreville High's (Parlin, N.J.) Delon Stephenson to the running back mix and Rutgers is starting to accumulate nice talent at the position.
Mission Accomplished?: Yes

8. Placekicker:
Rutgers waited and waited, and a month after Kyle Federico performed at the Specialists Camp, the Scarlet Knights offered the Ponte Vedra (Fla.) High prospect. It didn't take long for him to accept the offer and commit, meaning the Scarlet Knights found the replacement for San San Te.
Mission Accomplished?: Yes

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