With 247Sports Maryland affiliate InsideMDSports reporting that the Terrapins have accepted an invitation to join the Big Ten, and with ESPN reporting that Rutgers will be announced as the 14th member of the conference on Tuesday, a lot of excitement on the recruiting trail could come with it.
A move to the Big Ten would be a big win on the recruiting trail for Rutgers.
As the news continues to develop, the enthusiasm seems to be higher in New Jersey regarding the move from the Big East than it is coming out of Maryland regarding the decision to leave the ACC and the potential impact.
Area high school coaches see it as a big boost for Rutgers and the state itself moving forward.
“I’m hoping that it happens,” Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter’s Prep head coach Rich Hansen said on Monday afternoon. His program regularly churns out top Division-I talent. “I think it would have a dramatic positional impact on every aspect of the program. Certainly recruiting and fan support and fan excitement. I know Rutgers getting ready to play Michigan or Michigan State or pick any Big Ten school is a little more exciting than maybe playing South Florida or some of the other schools they currently play. For a Jersey kid it’s a great opportunity and I’m sure outside of New Jersey it adds a whole perspective to what Rutgers can be.”
“I think it’s great,” Paramus (N.J.) Catholic head coach Chris Partridge added. He has one of the more talented junior classes in the country which includes five-star cornerback Jabrill Peppers. “I love to see coaches/programs take a risk and shoot for the stars. It’s going to be a great challenge for them but that’s what building something great is about all about. A lot of people will say that they can’t win in the Big Ten and that should add to their motivation. I am behind it 100 percent and I think it will help attracting players knowing that the program is not shying away from the Big Ten.”
With New Jersey becoming Big Ten country, it certainly could help other Big Ten schools come into New Jersey and land signatures from top prospects. On the other hand, Rutgers has done a fine job of keeping a lot of top talent home for college, and with this potential move, it could further strengthen the Scarlet Knights grip on the state.
“We do have some players (from New Jersey) that move on to the national stage and sometimes their concern (regarding Rutgers) is exposure, competition and playing on the big stage,” Bergen Catholic coach Nunzio Campanile said. “I don’t think anyone could argue the Big Ten provides all those opportunities. I think anyone that would go to Rutgers and see the place would be impressed with the facilities and coaching staff and system they have in place. Now they’re moving to a greater stage and this gives them a great chance of them becoming even more relevant.”
For coaches in Maryland, the transition is left with a more cautious approach on the recruiting trail. It could even detract from area kids from choosing the Terrapins over perhaps another ACC school.
“If I’m a parent, it takes me five hours to drive to Charlotte and Chapel Hill,” Olney (Md.) Good Counsel head coach Bob Milloy said. He is the state’s all-time wins leader and has sent several players to Maryland. “That’s not the same thing driving to Minnesota or Wisconsin. I would think that would have some kind of impact. Driving to Minnesota in November might not be that fun, but driving to Tallahassee that could be done. To me the Big Ten is the more prestigious conference, but in reality nowadays, I don’t know, with Florida State and Virginia Tech in the ACC, that’s pretty good football too.”
On the other hand, the jury is still out regarding the type of recruiting impact moving to the Big Ten will have on Maryland. It could even be more of a boost for the other conference schools than for the Terrapins.
“I look at both conferences and they’re comparable conferences,” Washington (D.C.) Friendship head coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim said. Another Division-I factory, Abdul-Rahim has three players currently committed to the Terps. “I don’t think it’s going to change the school’s recruitment. I don’t think it’s going to change the kid’s recruitment. I think it’s a lateral move.”
“I don’t think it bothers them,” he continued. “They’re still young kids. They don’t have a clue about rivalries or history or past history of the ACC and what it means. I think it’s angering older people more than the kids.”
Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha is right next door to the Maryland campus and head coach Elijah Brooks thinks it could help boost the product the Terrapins are putting on the field.
“Hopefully it will help them,” Brooks said. He too is coaching one of the top junior classes in the country, including Penn State running back commit Mark Allen. “Both the ACC and Big Ten are very good conferences. I definitely think being able to pitch you can play against the Ohio State’s, Nebraskas and Penn States, and play in those environments and those stadiums should help but only time will tell.”
As the coaches said, the move to the Big Ten would definitely be a win when it comes to Rutgers recruiting. Regarding Maryland, it may be the other Big Ten conference schools that get the edge in recruiting the Terrapins state and Washington D.C. area, now that there will be more league exposure in the area.