Fran Brown was always known as a top football recruiter during his two stints as an assistant coach at Temple and his two seasons at Baylor.
Now Brown is in his first year as a Rutgers assistant, serving as the secondary coach for Greg Schiano, and he hasn’t wasted much time putting his recruiting skills to work.
This is Schiano’s second stint with Rutgers and like the first one, he entered a program in need of a major infusion. Schiano had four straight losing seasons to begin his first tenure at Rutgers but then produced six of seven winning campaigns before leaving to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012.
Kyle Flood took over and had initial success, including an 8-5 record in this third season, which was Rutgers’ first in the Big Ten.
Since then the Scarlet Knights have gone 13-47 over the last five seasons, including 2-10 last season.
Now Schiano is back and the first defensive coach he hired was Brown, a former star quarterback/defensive back at Camden and a 2006 graduate of Western Carolina, where he was an all-conference cornerback as a senior.
Rutgers already has 20 commitments for the class of 2021, according to 247sports.com.
Of course, football commitments at any college in June could turn to decommitments by signing day in December, but the fact that Rutgers has gotten off to a quick start is a positive sign. According to 247sports.com, the Scarlet Knights have the No. 8 recruiting class in the Big Ten and the 20th best nationally.
“I think it is always important that you can get student-athletes that you are recruiting to fit your culture,” Brown said on Wednesday during a media conference call. “You’ve got guys that truly fit where you want and you’re able to go out and get them to come in and be part of the culture, I mean, it’s important.”
The return of Schiano and the hiring of Brown have been a big part of the recruiting success.
“Getting an opportunity to recruit for a Big Ten school, in your own state with the coach who is this outstanding recruiter [himself], so it is something I have been able to add to my own skill set as a recruiter...” Brown said.
Brown, 38, first got into college coaching at Temple in 2011 as the assistant director of internal operations. The next season he was a graduate assistant.
That was followed by four years as an assistant coach. Brown went to Baylor with former Temple head coach Matt Rhule and stayed there for two seasons before returning to Temple last season as an assistant.
The chance to work with Schiano was what lured him to Rutgers.
“Once he got the job and I had the opportunity to come here, it was like I think it is a fit,” Brown said. “...Once he got that job, I was just itching for that call.”
The call came and since then Brown, Schiano, and the staff have been making plenty of calls to recruits.
Brown is known for his South Jersey ties, but he says that doesn’t just pin him to that area. When he went to unfamiliar territory while working at Baylor, he was able to recruit in Texas. He does know the state of New Jersey, not just the south, extremely well and that obviously is a must for Rutgers.