Rutgers Opening Weekend Official Visit Recap: “I thought … maybe this is my home”
Greg Schiano and the Rutgers football team have just completed their first round of official visits since the time-out was lifted on June 1. Visitors arrived Thursday and Friday and checked into their hotel rooms. Throughout the weekend, they toured the team’s facilities, took photos, met with coaches, training staff, education staff and toured Rutgers campuses.
Coaches took visitors to New York on Friday where they ate at an Italian restaurant and went bowling. On Saturday, coaches, players and visitors boarded a bus and traveled to the Jersey Shore, where they relaxed on the beach, ate and bonded all day. But what was the end result of each visit?
DJ Allen (6-7, 230) 3 stars DL, Leo (Indiana.)
Accompanied on campus by: Mother, father, stepfather and younger brother
Host: DL Wesley Bailey
Notable quote: “Right from the start, Rutgers was really committed to me and was consistent in communication, which meant a lot in the long run. I want to be in a family environment and that has definitely solidified that. It gave me the feeling I needed to feel to make my decision.
“Rutgers recruited me for sure until the end. Vanderbilt and Northwestern were contenders, but Rutgers’ commitment to me ultimately secured my commitment.”
Where it stands: Allen made a commitment to Rutgers during his exit interview with Schiano on Sunday and publicly announced his intentions on Twitter hours later. Among the other visitors, Allen has mostly bonded with Oliver Bridges, whom he has already started recruiting since his engagement.
He developed a bond with Bridges and his family over the weekend and formed a close bond with Bailey and Ryan Keeler – Rutgers’ defensive linemen – who helped close the deal. It all came down to Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Northwestern and Rutgers recruited Allen the hardest on the stretch and shut him down.
Addison Copeland III (6-2, 190) DB 3 Star, Western New York State Maritime Charter School (Buffalo, New York)
Accompanied by: Father and brother
Host: WR Shameen Jones
Notable quote: “There were a few times on the trip where I thought, ‘Maybe this is my home.’ … There is certainly a good chance that I can re-commit to Rutgers.
Where it stands: Copeland was already committed to Rutgers this cycle – before disengaging the day he received an offer from Notre Dame (Feb. 9), five months after signing up. Now he’s back in the fold and Rutgers may well get him back, having continued to recruit him. This was Copeland’s first visit, so it’s best to take your initial happiness with a grain of salt. But he left campus buzzing from Rutgers with fellow visitor Jimmy Scott, whom he knows well and played against in high school.
The two sat down together at the Newark airport and shared a plane home to upstate New York, where they reside. Copeland says he thought about re-enlisting several times throughout the visit, and Rutgers became his favorite school with official visits to Pitt and South Carolina scheduled for June 11 and 25. I will have an article on Copeland this week.
Jimmy scott (6-3, 250) 3 stars DL, Saint-François (Hamburg, NY)
Accompanied by: Mother and father
Host: TE Shawn Collins
Notable quote: “This is going to be hard to beat, I’m not going to lie to you.” They treated us like celebrities. It was great.”
Where it stands: Like Copeland, Scott is infatuated with Rutgers coming out of the tour and considering enlisting as well. However, he might take another visit or two before he makes up his mind. His Rutgers offer is committable, but there is a crunch in numbers that could play into whether he lands at Rutgers or not.
Scott is an agile and athletic defensive lineman, who carries part-time football for his high school team.
Jaiven Plummer (6-3, 195) DB 3 stars, episcopal (Alexandria, Virginia)
Accompanied by: Mother, father and stepfather
Hosted by DB Avery Young
Where it stands: Plummer left campus with three remaining official visits, which he intends to make – to Virginia on June 11, to Stanford on June 18, and to California on June 25. Defensive back coach Fran Brown, who covets big athletic DBs, has been tasked with adding Plummer to the fold (which he’s still working on).
Olivier Bridges (6-2, 180) 3 stars DB, Bullis (Potomac, Maryland)
Accompanied by: Mother, father and sister
Hosted by DB Lawrence Stevens
Notable quote: “I thought about getting involved. I feel like I could be a good fit at Rutgers and they have everything I need to be successful, but I don’t want to rush into decisions just yet.
Where it stands: Bridges says he could make an extra visit or two – “Cincinnati and Maryland or Penn State” – just to have something to compare with Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights are in the lead after his trip.
Andre Roye (6-6, 305) 3 stars OL, Saint-François (Baltimore, Maryland)
Accompanied by: Various members of his support network
Host: OL Raiqwon O’Neal
Where is it: Roye, by all accounts, had a good trip, but left campus without enrolling. Rutgers already having five offensive linemen signed up for 2022 might have something to do with it, but Rutgers is still a player in his recruiting as there is no such thing as a team having too many good offensive linemen.
Roye has official visits scheduled to Maryland on June 11, Penn State on June 18, and also loves NC State.
Omari evans (6-0, 170) 3 stars WR, Shoemaker (Killeen, Texas):
Accompanied by: Mother, father, sister plus coach and her family
Host: WR Bo Melton
Notable quote: “Bo Melton hosted me the whole trip. We got along very well. They are very high on my list. After my outing with Coach Schiano, we had a long conversation. He told me if it felt right I had to go ahead and give him the green light because of COVID and players getting one (free year).
Where it stands: While Evans appreciates Rutgers after his visit, he plans to visit Vanderbilt in two weeks and could visit “some schools in Texas that I have unofficially and Arkansas.”
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Todderick Hunt can be reached at [email protected].