Prince to the NFL? What It Would Mean for RU

Ron Prince

The Detroit Free press reports Rutgers offensive coordinator Ron Prince will be a member of newly named Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell's staff. If that is the case, what does it mean for Rutgers and coach Kyle Flood if Prince returns to the NFL? ScarletReport.com looks in-depth at the situation.

The Rutgers staff took a potential hit Tuesday when a report surfaced offensive coordinator Ron Prince will join newly hired coach Jim Caldwell on the Detroit Lions staff. Prince has a close relationship with Caldwell, and spent two years in the NFL prior to joining Rutgers coach Kyle Flood's staff in 2013.

Put aside the obvious need to hire a fifth offensive coordinator in as many years (Kirk Ciarrocca, Frank Cignetti, Dave Brock, Prince) and it leaves some series questions for Rutgers to answer with National Signing Day coming in three weeks.

The Rutgers class of 2014 includes a number of Prince recruits – fullback Jacob Kraut, tight end Logan Lister and cornerback Kam Lott to name a few. After firing defensive coordinator Dave Cohen in December, Flood already is looking for a defensive coordinator and Prince's status as offensive coordinator is in question as the contact period leading up to signing day begins Thursday.

"This is a tough situation for Rutgers and the remaining staff," said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn. "When the staff goes out to recruit Thursday, what do they tell kids about the direction of the offense and the defense? Who will be coaching them? Those are questions recruits want answers to. If your Rutgers, acting quickly is important but a good hire has to be made.

"This is a tough spot, and what has already been a rough few months for the program in recruiting could continue unless something is done quickly."

Prince and Flood both discussed plans for an open quarterback competition in the offseason, but the Scarlet Knights could find themselves without a position coach after firing quarterbacks coach Rob Spence. In addition to possibly needing to find yet another offensive coordinator, Flood needs someone to coach up senior quarterback Gary Nova and the rest of the group set for spring competition.

Nova and junior Mike Bimonte are headed toward their third quarterbacks coach since enrolling at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are now in a position where recruiting a 2014 quarterback may have to happen without a coordinator or position coach.

What happens if the need to replace Prince arises in the next few days? Flood will need to make a quick hire to avoid too many concerns before Signing Day. Departing Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight ends coach Brian Angelichio worked with Flood under Greg Schiano and has a strong reputation with X's and O's. Associate head coach Norries Wilson received a look last year when Brock departed and Lehigh head coach Andy Coen interviewed for the job last year as well.

Flood cited past play-calling experience as a must in his search for an offensive coordinator last season, and is likely to do so again going into the Big Ten.

"I think we're fortunate as a Big Ten football program," Flood said last week regarding his other coaching searches. "We have a great destination for a really talented football coach who is a really good person and a quality recruiter. There really is no limitations on who that person can be."

The good news for Rutgers is, if need be, the ability to pay a higher price for a coordinator than the $170,000 base salary Prince received in 2013.

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