The college football recruiting landscape can be a tricky one, especially with the nature of “verbal commitments” in the months leading up to signing day. There is inevitably going to be kids who say they’re on board to sign on the dotted line who back out or test greener pastures elsewhere. But for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, there is reason to be concerned about the state of their 2014 recruiting class after three of their top recruits for next season all backed away from their pledges in a 24-hour span. What is happening in Piscataway?
Bad news started coming in on Sunday when four-star wide receiver Adonis Jennings (Erial, N.J./Timber Creek) confirmed that he was back on the market for teams to recruit. From there, it only got worse as three-star cornerback Lamont Simmons (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines) and four-star athlete Kiy Hester (Wayne, N.J./DePaul Catholic) announced they were decommitting on Monday. That pokes some major holes in a class that at one time ranked as the No. 18 class in college football and the Knights will have to scramble to fill them.
Jennings has reportedly moved on completely from Rutgers and is now likely headed to the Pitt Panthers or Iowa Hawkeyes next season. Simmons had been keeping his ears open to other offers and taking official visits despite his commitment to Rutgers, so his decision to back away from his verbal likely means he’s now leaning elsewhere and could end up with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, whom he visited in September. Hester is starting to plan some official visits and did not want to remain committed to Rutgers while visiting other schools.
For their part, Rutgers doesn’t appear to be in a good position to lure any of these recruits back into the fold. It’s a major blow for the program as they prepare to join the Big Ten, where they will need all the talent they can get to compete. Can the Scarlet Knights pick up the pieces on the recruiting trail and salvage the 2014 class?