Rutgers Football is 100% on the come-up, and there's no question about it. Rutgers Football has already shown major signs of improvement, especially with the dominating 38-27 win against a mediocre Michigan State team. Rutgers came into the 2020 season as undoubtedly the worst Power 5 team in college football, but in the coming seasons, can Rutgers Football become a force to be reckoned with?
First, let's take note of what Head Coach Greg Schiano did with his first stint with Rutgers. In 2000, Greg Schiano took over after Terry Shea's termination. Rutgers had suffered the worst 5-year stretch in program history. Shea's tenure not only failed to produce a single winning season, but it also failed to win more than three games in a single season with the exception of a 5–6 campaign in 1998.
Greg Schiano started his tenure at Rutgers with 4 seasons of losing records, but in 2005, they managed to have their first winning season since Doug Graber's squad went 7-4 in 1992. In 2006, Greg Schiano and Rutgers Football had their highest rank ever, peaking at No. 7 in the AP Poll. The following year, Rutgers received its first-ever preseason rank in the AP Poll at No. 16. This makes you think, can Rutgers do it again? I think so. Here's why.
On December 1, 2019, Rutgers and Greg Schiano agreed to an 8-year, $32 million contract that would see him return as head coach of the Scarlet Knights. With limited time to take over what Chris Ash did, and finish up the 2020 recruiting class, he proceeded to get 11 transfers, and 9 commits, which is pretty impressive to take over a Big Ten college football program.
And then, the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Greg Schiano was not able to run a football team as normal, as well as the rest of Division I football. All of his former ways of recruiting went virtual. He couldn't use all of his methods of recruiting as he wished. He wasn't able to see any of his players practice. There was a new normal to college football that everyone had to adapt to, including Greg Schiano.
Greg Schiano showed College Football that a global pandemic was not going to stop him from rebuilding this Rutgers Football program, and it showed.
Schiano picked up 22 commits, with a national rank of 40 for the 2021 recruiting class, which included 19 3-star commits, 1 2-star commit, and 2 4-star commits. Greg Schiano showed everyone that no matter what came his way, he was not gonna stop doing everything he can to make Rutgers Football national contenders, and ultimately, national champions. Already, in the 2022 recruiting class, Schiano has 3 commits in Addison Copeland, Jojo Bermudez, and Rashad Rochelle. Schiano so far has the 4th best 2022 recruiting class in the Big Ten, and the 22nd best in the nation, but in the coming months, that's subject to change.
The 2020 season came around, and 4 games in a conference-only schedule, Rutgers showed they were already a different team. Rutgers dominated in Week 1 vs. Michigan State and won it 38-27. That win started to catch some eyes across College Football, but did that pressure this Rutgers Football program? Rutgers proceeded to drop the next 3 games to No. 9 Indiana, No. 3 Ohio State, and Illinois, which should have been a game that we should have won. But in Week 2 and Week 3, Rutgers showed it could compete with the top dogs, and keeping the games a lot closer than anyone expected. Rutgers Football also showed that they will fight to the end, no matter what the score is. In Week 2, when Rutgers played No. 9 Indiana, the score was 37-21 Indiana, and with 2:04 on the clock, Noah Vedral snapped the ball, passed it to Shameen Jones, lateralled it to Bo Melton, then went back to Noah Vedral, then to the lineman Raiquon O'Neal, as shown, back to Shameen Jones on the Rutgers 25 yard line, then all the way back to Noah Vedral for his 3rd time with the ball this play, then lastly to Bo Melton for the touchdown which was unfortunatley called back. This showed no quit in this Rutgers Football program and showed a different mindset "On the Banks."
With the limited time that Coach Schiano had to work with for this 2020 program, this makes me think that with the 22 commits coming to Rutgers in 2021, and most likely being able to go back to normal, I believe that Greg Schiano can rebuild this program to consistent top 25 teams. What do you think? Leave it in the comments below! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article!