The firing of Rutgers football coach Kyle Flood has left two of the state's top senior players, Archbishop Wood quarterback Anthony Russo and West Catholic defensive end Tymir Oliver, rethinking their recruitment.
Russo, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder who drew rave reviews with his strong arm and poise while advancing to the Elite 11 finals in Oregon last summer, committed to the Scarlet Knights in May. The 6-4, 265-pound Oliver, powerful and quick off the ball, did the same in August.
Oliver reopened his recruitment via Twitter last Friday. He wrote, "After a long talk with my family, I am decommitting from Rutgers University. I will reconsider my decision after my season is over."
Rutgers announced Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash as its new coach on Monday. The 41-year-old, who joined Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes last year, was previously a defensive coordinator at Arkansas (2013) and Wisconsin (2011-12).
Russo has been quiet since Flood's firing. In September, when Flood was suspended for three games and fined $50,000 for violating a university policy about contacting faculty members about players' academic status, Russo said he was still firmly committed to Rutgers.
Wood head coach Steve Devin said on Tuesday that Russo, who threw for 2,452 yards and 35 touchdowns while leading the Vikings to an 11-1 record this season, remains committed to the Scarlet Knights.
But, Devlin added, "I think he wants to let the process play itself out. He wants to find out what the new coach's offensive philosophy will be. That's important."
Brian Dohn, a national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, said Russo, a three-star prospect, "was able to talk to Chris Ash this week. Right now, he's still committed to Rutgers."
Because Russo is a traditional dropback passer best fitted to a pro-style offense, Dohn said the QB's options could be limited if he decommits from the Scarlet Knights. "There's not a ton of schools out there that use that scheme," Dohn said. "So it could be a little tricky for him."
When he committed to Rutgers, Oliver, who has helped West Catholic reach the PIAA Class AA state semifinals, had nearly 20 scholarship offers on the table.
Burrs coach Brian Fluck said Boston College, Pittsburgh, and Illinois are among the possibilities for Oliver, with Rutgers still in the mix. He said Auburn and Clemson recently inquired about the two-way lineman.
Dohn believes Ash has the potential to be a strong recruiter at Rutgers. "He has the drive, focus, and believability," he said.
Schwartz to Navy. Wood's Mack Schwartz, a senior defensive end, recently committed to play at Navy.
The 6-3, 215-pounder chose the Midshipmen over Buffalo, Holy Cross, Rhode Island, and Temple, among others.
Extra points. Council Rock North senior QB Brandon McIlwain, a South Carolina recruit, visited Penn State for its home game vs. Michigan last month. Nittany Lions QBs coach Ricky Rahne followed that with an in-home visit last week. ... West Catholic wide receiver and outside linebacker Jameer Bryson is questionable for Saturday's state semi vs. Southern Columbia after suffering a rib injury early against Dunmore. ... Hatboro-Horsham's Casey Walsh connected on 127 of 232 passes for 1,921 yards and 17 TDs. ... C.R. North's Devon Bibbens had 60 catches for 647 yards and seven scores ... Abington's David Kretschman hit on 142 of 263 throws for 1,852 yards and 17 TDs.