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How Might Rutgers Complete Their 2016 Recruiting Class?

Rutgers football’s 2016 recruiting class is almost complete. The class will likely be smaller than years past with total numbers around 20 per NJ.com recruiting analyst Todderick Hunt. There are currently 17 commits, which means about three more will enter the castle as Scarlet Knights (commits aren’t binding until they can begin signing letters of intent in February).

With that in mind, who are a few names that Rutgers fans should be on the lookout from for a commitment?

Patrice Rene, CB/S, Episcopal (Alexandria, VA) – Rene is a solid four-star cornerback who is originally from Canada and moved to the United State in 2014 to attend Episcopal. Rene, who’s recruitment has come down to the Scarlet Knights and Ohio State, is set to announce on Aug. 8. The 6-1, 180-pounder was last seen at the Buckeye’s Friday Night Lights this past weekend where he performed well. Without any inside info, it appears that the defensive back learned earlier this week whether his offer from Ohio State is committable or not as they own the nation’s top recruiting class. Rutgers will have to fend off a late push from Urban Meyer and company to get the services of this talented defensive back. Rene grabbed two interceptions and made 23 stops according to maxpreps.com last season. Rutgers finished 2013 second to last (125th) in passing yards given up in the pass happy American Athletic Conference with young defensive backs thrown into the fire. They finished 62th a year ago in their first season in the Big Ten. Rene would help solidify the secondary.

Episcopal (Alexandria, VA) CB Patrice Rene

Episcopal (Alexandria, VA) CB Patrice Rene

Tymir Oliver, DE, West Philadelphia Catholic (Philadelphia, PA) – Oliver, who has Rutgers as his favorite per Hunt, has been trying to get his mother to accompany him to campus to pledge to head coach Kyle Flood. “They’re my favorite, honestly,” he said. “I like the vibe I get from them, like they really care about you when you’re up there.” The 6-3, 265-pound lineman could grow into a defensive tackle, but for now, plays defensive end. According to maxpreps.com, Oliver racked up 60 tackles as a junior including seven for loss and three sacks. Oliver is rated a three-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite.

Chinedu Udeogu, DE, Georgetown Preparatory School (Rockville, MD) – The Illinois native Udeogu lists Rutgers in his latest top three earlier this month according to a Hunt article. It is likely Rutgers only takes one more defensive linemen and will most likely come down between Oliver and Udeogu. However, on July 28, the 6-4, 240-pound athlete picked up an offer from California. Richie Schnyderite at TheChopNation.com told Double G Sports that Udeogu was scheduled to announce on Thursday but is now delaying his decision with the Cal offer. A slew of Ivy League schools are after Udeogu who holds academics in high standards. Udeogu is a three-star recruit by 247Sports.

KJ Sails, CB, East Bay (Gibsonton, FL) – Rutgers already holds pledges from safety Phil Campbell and corner Damon Hayes, and might receive a commitment from the aforementioned Rene which may close the door on Sails. However, you can never have too many stud defensive backs as in recent years Rutgers has learned the hard way. This off-season, Rutgers already lost two defensive backs (Kam Lott to transfer and Darian Dailey was kicked off due to arrest for robbery) and could be without Nadir Barnwell for the season for academic reasons. The Scarlet Knights will likely start a sophomore and a freshman at corner this season with their backups being young and inexperienced freshmen as well. Gaining commitments from Rene and or the three-star Sails would be huge.

Malcolm Pridgeon, OL, Nassau C.C. (Centril Islip, N.Y.) – Pridgeon is a four-star JUCO offensive tackle who plays for Nassau Community College. Pridgeon will finish there in the spring of 2016 and will have three years to play two at whatever school he chooses. He committed to Rutgers in early June, but TheChopNation.com reported that he later had second thoughts due to his family thinking he should take all of his official visits and decide in the fall. Pridgeon has offers from the who’s who of college football so it will be tough to get the 6-8, 300-pound mammoth lineman back on board. However, because he somewhat committed earlier, one can guess he has serious interest in coming to New Jersey.

Malcolm Pridgeon of Central Islip poses for a photo. (Aug. 23, 2013) (Credit: James Escher)

Malcolm Pridgeon of Central Islip poses for a photo. (Aug. 23, 2013) (Credit: James Escher)

Schnyderite also gave his opinion on the guys he thinks Rutgers has the best chance in landing and came up with: Oliver, Rene, Pridgeon, Florida cornerback Henry Miller, or KJ Sails, or both, and Udeogu. He also gave a few honorable mention selections in Tony Butler (DB) and Lucas Niang (OL). In addition, he says there will always be spots for guys like top DT Rashan Gary and ATH Jordan Fuller, but they are reaches. Defensive tackle Karamo Dioubate is the more realistic reach he says.

Others to watch: OL Johncarlo Valentin and TE Jovani Haskins.

As always, keep it locked to Double G Sports to get you prepared for the 2015 season and recruiting updates.

Special thanks to Schnyderite and his insider info for adding his thoughts and opinions.

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