Previous recruiting targets affect Rutgers' current cornerback situation
|Kyle Flood is dealing with a makeshift cornerback rotation, one that could've looked different based on past recruiting efforts. (AP photo)|
By Tyler Barto
Despite the presence of three players 19 years old or younger in Rutgers' cornerback rotation, head coach Kyle Flood said Thursday expectations for the group wouldn't change.
Those three players, redshirt freshman Ian Thomas and true freshmen Nadir Barnwell and Anthony Cioffi, have appeared in a combined 17 games. Another, junior Gareef Glashen, has one career start.
"I think we've got guys who at the beginning of the season didn't have any experience," Flood said during his weekly game-after teleconference. "Now they've got experience, and I would expect them to improve."
How did Rutgers' corner depth deteriorate to this point?
- January 31, 2010: Glashen commits to Rutgers. He is the Scarlet Knights' only corner commit in his class. He has appeared in 19 career games, mostly on special teams.
- June 2010: Abdul Smith, then a redshirt freshman, transfers to Temple. He has started every game this season.
- June 6, 2010: Neptune's Charles Davis commits to Rutgers but doesn't qualify academically.
- June 26, 2010: Three-star recruit Lafayette Pitts reneges a commitment to Rutgers in favor of hometown Pittsburgh. Pitts is now a two-year starter.
- January 2012: Darrell Givens, part of Rutgers' recruiting class of 2009, transfers to Towson. He had previously committed to Ohio State and Penn State before arriving in Piscataway.
- Dec. 31, 2012: Logan Ryan announces he will forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the 2013 NFL Draft. The Patriots select him in the third round.
- March 2013: Thomas, a wide receiver, moves to cornerback during spring practice. He has one interception and two passes defensed.
- 2013: Rutgers has four defensive back commitments for the class of 2013.
Barring or position change, Rutgers will enter the Big Ten in 2014 with one upperclassman at cornerback. He is 5-foot-10, 180 pounds.
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Six games remain this season to prepare the rest. Flood acknowledges the uphill climb that exists.
"We've lost some depth now and we've lost a lot of experience with a guy in Lew Toler (broken arm), who has played a lot of college football," he said. "A guy like Ian Thomas is really no different than a true freshman. He had never played corner in a college game before."
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