What the return of Greg Schiano means for Rutgers football

rutgers football

This fall became a lot less bleak after the Big Ten voted to reinstate the 2020 college football season. For Rutgers football fans in recent years, the fall season has been anything but uplifting. This year, however, things are much different.

2020 could be the comeback of Rutgers football. Since the hiring of returning head coach Greg Schiano, Rutgers fans have looked toward this season with hope. Schiano, the last head coach to lead a really successful Rutgers football team, will bring so much to the team this season. Physically and mentally, the Scarlet Knights have needed to shape up for years, and Schiano will provide the opportunity for that. With just two weeks until kickoff against Michigan State, let’s look at what Schiano will bring to the Scarlet Knights this season.

Ability to recruit in-state

New Jersey is a breeding ground for great high school football players. Many four- and five-star recruits come from the state and go on to play big-time football. Unfortunately for Rutgers, New Jersey’s state college, most of these top players end up committing to out-of-state schools. Worse yet, they commit to other Big Ten schools, becoming an enemy when they could be an asset for their home state.

Rutgers has been weak at recruiting, allowing many of these home-state players to get away. Schiano will turn this around for the Scarlet Knights. He is dedicated to recruiting strong classes and has contacts at the powerhouse New Jersey private high schools. Already the recruiting class of 2021 is ranked 20th in the country, a big feat for a team that is not often ranked in anything. Three big grabs from New Jersey include Shaquan Loyal, Al-Shadee Salaam and Jordan Thompson.

A History with Rutgers

Schiano has done this before, and he did it really well. He’s had the best success any coach has had with the Scarlet Knights in recent history. Before leaving to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Schiano was head coach of Rutgers from 2001 to 2011. He was taking over a team that had not had a winning season since 1992. During this time, he led the team to six bowl games, an event the team has not seen since 2014. In 2006, the team went 11-2 and ended the season ranked 12th nationally. The prospect of seeing a number next to Rutgers’ name seems crazy today, but if anyone can get them there again, it seems that it will be Schiano.

Increased Hope and High Moral

The hiring of Schiano brought a newfound optimism to Rutgers’ team and its fan base. The main reason why Rutgers has struggled in the Big Ten, besides poor recruiting, has been a lack of funds and strong coaching. After negotiations with Schiano, Rutgers has made a commitment to increase coaches’ salaries and improve facilities. If this holds true, Rutgers could actually compete within its conference this season. Schiano brings with him the opportunity for Rutgers fans to actually be excited about the upcoming season. Finally, for the first time in years, the Scarlet Knights actually have potential.

Photo by Benjamin Chelnitsky/The Daily Targum