Throwback to the 4-star Friday, Greg Schiano’s Underclassman BBQ, which brought the area’s top FB recruits to Rutgers

On Friday, July 29, the day before the Rutgers football program housed the majority of its dedicated seniors, Piscataway staff entertained a number of top undergraduates and various four-star recruits. Like the class of 2023 commits that would follow, the underclassmen were put through drills to show what they’ve got, which built the camaraderie between Rutgers and each recruit and the recruits among themselves. Here’s what some Rutgers visitors thought of the unique visit that day.

“I got there in the morning and when I walked in the door, there were about 20 coaches in the lobby to greet me,” he said Colin Cubberly, a 6-6, 300-pound junior from Arlington High School in Lagrangeville, NY “Then coach (Matt) Walp took me and my dad to see the dorms. When we came back we spoke to coach Schiano and coach Hoffmann in their offices. Then I did a photo shoot and got ready for the mini camp which was great!”

Cubberly has a three-star rank but is built for Sunday play and features a four-star framework.

“There weren’t many other offensive linemen there, so getting 1-on-1 coaching from Coach (Augie) Hoffmann and the staff was really cool,” he exclaimed. “I can’t wait to come back.”


Holy Trinity Diocesan (Hicksville, NY) Four Star DB Slash Wide Receiver Josiah Brownwho was about to decide on Rutgers at the beginning of the summer had also piqued his interest.

“The energy struck me the most,” Brown said. “I was spending time with my boyfriend KJ Duff. I also spent time with Coach (Scott) Vallone, Coach (Damiere) Shaw and Coach Schiano. It was a good time.”

Duff, the 2023 DB class teammate, promises Jan StarkShe left Friday’s event early due to a previous appointment, but made the trip anyway and walked away impressed.

“I like the relationship that’s being built between me and coach Schiano,” said Duff, who did his photoshoot alongside Brown. “We had a good conversation about life away from football and I think it’s important to have those conversations.”

Four Star Woodrow Wilson (Camden, NJ) Junior DB willy love found was most intrigued by Greg Schiano’s block, which encapsulated all the ingredients of a premier venue.

“The meeting point at coach Schiano’s house was the best,” said Love. “I was there most of the time Jaylan Hornsby (a 6-3, 185-pound, four-star wide receiver who also plays on the hardwood and made the switch from Overbrook to Camden High this offseason). He’s my type.”

Four-Star Defensive End Erasmus Hall (Brooklyn, NY). Caden Brown is familiar with Rutgers and is considering joining his alumni at Piscataway.

“I’ve definitely spent a lot of time with defensive line coach Marquis Watson,” Brown said. “We have a great relationship and he showed me a lot of pass rush techniques. What stood out the most is the obligation to be the big ones!

“Rutgers is definitely trying to take the program to the next level and I’m excited to see that. With so many Erasmus Hall players from New York already on the program, Rutgers is starting to feel right at home.”

Brown interacted with coaches, but also with recruits who had never heard of Brooklyn’s Flatbush section.

“I had the opportunity to meet Daniel Kalin, the QB from (Bellevue) Nebraska,” Brown said. “We had lunch together and it was interesting to meet someone from the Midwest. Daniel and his mother were very friendly. You don’t see much of that in New York. It was just different.”

Popular with recruits, Duff also has ties to Brown.

“That’s where I also saw my ex-teammate in youth football, KJ Duff,” Brown said. “It’s nice to see that all the New York players are doing well.”

Linebacker sophomore from Salem (NJ). CameronSmith has seen his recruitment soar after receiving early offers from Rutgers, Penn State, Boston College, UConn, Texas A&M, West Virginia and Temple.

“It struck me that all the recruits and coaches knew each other like friends, which is good to see when another recruit is trying to decide where to go,” he said.

Smith wasn’t the only top linebacker at Rutgers that day. He joined Sam Pilofa 6-3, 205-pound college student from Middleton, Wisconsin with offers from Rutgers, Penn State, Wisconsin and Iowa State who flew to Newark with his mother.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame (Lawrenceville, NJ) Junior Quarterback Offeree AJ Suracewhose father, Bob, is the head coach at Princeton University and has ties to Rutgers offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson, who once worked there, was revealed during practice.

“I really loved the culture and energy there,” Surace said. “I spent a lot of time with Coach Gleeson throughout the day.”

Delran (NJ) junior offensive tackle, Kenny JonesEx-teammate of freshman Rutgers Edge Kenny Fletcher, also brought his 6-5, 300lb and offers from Rutgers and Temple to campus.

“What struck me the most was the sense of family,” Jones said. “The cooperation with coach (Phil) Guard and coach Hoffmann was great. I’ve had great feedback and intend to use it in my daily fitness routine. In addition, the conversation with coach Schiano gave me the feeling that he was talking to me and not to me.”

Pope John (Sparta, NJ) second year DB Omari winsSon of Brick City Lions president Nasir Gaines, who accompanied him to campus, started 2021 as a freshman and is on track to become one of the area’s big fish despite only being a sophomore of high school goes.

“Rutgers showed a lot of love,” he said. “They showed me the campus and where the players spend most of their time off the field. I was allowed to train a bit with the DB trainers and got a few tips on how I can improve in the corner position.”

Seed “tank” fusea 6-3, 250-pound defenseman from Washington, Pennsylvania visited Rutgers along with his brother, davouna class of 2023 promises who will play linebacker at Rutgers next year.

“The best thing was seeing the relationships the coaches have with their players,” he said. “The coaches want you to feel almost at home there. Not only do they treat you like an athlete, they treat you like family.”

Don Bosco (Ramsey, NJ) defender Jordan Thomasarguably the best junior in New Jersey, soaked up the atmosphere while other four-star New Jersey players Like Archiea sophomore phenom and potential five-star linebacker running back from the Hun School at Princeton, and Yasin Willisfrom St. Joseph Regional in Montvale, NJ, and the Garden State’s top junior running back, rounded out Friday’s attendance list.

A contingent from Georgia also made the long journey, partaking in the grind and post-workout loot provided by Schiano and his staff for the day.

“I loved the on-campus companionship, the friendly environment, and the modern facility,” said sophomore Milton (Ga.). Tobi Advoyina 6-1, 170-pounder with a high ceiling who was joined by other standouts Dylan Lewisalso by Milton, and Nick Taylor, a junior quarterback from Fayette County High in Fayetteville, Georgia who is recruited as DB. “The trainers were really nice and took it seriously with all the recruits.

“Coaches talked about what life would be like after college when football is all said and done and how networking at Rutgers is second to none. I spent most of my time with DB coach (Mark) Orphey, who also came to our hotel and chilled.”


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Todderick Hunt can be reached at [email protected].