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Kyle Flood National Signing Day Press Conference Transcript
  • Posted on February 06, 2013 3:18:48 PM
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  • Opening Statement: “Good afternoon. Today is an exciting day for us and our program to have the chance to add 22 young men to our University, football program and family. Twenty-one of the 22 are from the ‘State of Rutgers’ with 11 being from our home state of New Jersey and some great high school programs. Some of the [high school] programs we’ve had multiple players from in the past – that makes us feel good. Another player from Piscataway High School is a good thing for Rutgers football. With that I will run down the list of players and then answer questions.”

    On TE Nick Arcidiacono (Holland, Pa./Archbishop Wood): “Nick is the younger brother of Brandon [Arcidiacono], who signed with us last year. When you watch Nick’s film, you see kind of a hybrid tight end, h-back type of guy. He plays on the line and is strong, tough and can also catch the ball out of the backfield. He is another player out of the Archbishop Wood, the third player to come out of that program in the last two years. They certainly have a winning program.”

    On RB Dontea Ayres (Salisbury, Md./Wicomico): “Dontea is already enrolled and is from Maryland and Wicomico High School – the home of Wayne Warren. He is a big, physical, thick running back – someone that sat out his senior year due to injury but is at 100 percent right now. He is someone that we expect to compete this spring at a position where we have a starter in Savon Huggins, but behind him, we really don’t have a proven running back. We have some talented running backs and people we feel really good about, but Dontea Ayres is going to come in and immediately have an opportunity to compete this spring. I think that is going to be a positive for everybody.”

    On DB Nadir Barnwell (Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway): “Nadir is one of the dynamic players in our state, right here from Piscataway High School and another player from coach Higgins’ program that we think will do some exceptional things. He was someone who in high school did a little bit of everything from quarterback to special teams to the secondary. We feel he is someone who can come in immediately and help us in the secondary. He will have an opportunity to do that. Now he did have a shoulder surgery after the season ended that will allow him to participate in spring, but in a non-contact fashion. He will do a lot of excellent learning and really get accumulated to the types of drills we do here. But the contact portion he will not get until the fall. That’s when he will really get the opportunity to compete.”

    On RB Devan Carter (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton): “Devan Carter is a big running back and someone we think is talented and a threat when he has the ball. We also think he can evolve and do some things at the fullback position that we need behind Michael Burton. As I’ve said before, the depth at that position is a concern for me. We needed to add someone to the list here on Signing Day that we think could help us at the fullback position. Getting Devan from Brighton High School is going to do that for us.”

    On DB Anthony Cioffi (Springfield, N.J./Jonathan Dayton): “Anthony is someone again who will get an opportunity, albeit not starting until the summer, to come in here and compete as a corner for us. He is an exceptionally fast athlete with an impressive documented 100 meter times. I also got a chance to see Anthony play basketball and he is an exceptional athlete and an elite competitor. We are really excited to have him here with us.”

    On RB Justin Goodwin (Summit, N.J./Madison): “He is one of the top running backs in our state, an all-state running back. He led his team to two undefeated state championships seasons the last two years and because the school is a little bit smaller school, I don’t know how well known he is outside of New Jersey. However, I know that people that have competed against him here know he is extremely elusive and a natural runner – a little bit of a slasher when you watch him on tape. Again, someone who gets here in the summer and fall training camp is going to have the opportunity to compete and be in the depth at running back.”

    On WR Janarion Grant (Trilby, Fla./Pasco): “Janarion Grant is an electric special teams player on film, but that is not where his skill set stops. He plays wide receiver and will be a threat to make a big play every time he touches the ball. He was the player of the year in his area down there and is someone that I think can immediately make an impact on special teams. He may have a chance to make an impact at the receiver position. He is just a very talented young man who is exceptional with the ball in his hands.”

    On DB Bryant Gross-Armiento (Sunrise, Fla./American Heritage): “Bryant is another player in the secondary that is going to have the chance to compete. When I say compete, on a team where we have four of our five top players in the secondary moving on, whether graduation or leaving early for the draft, there is going to be competition at that position from now until we start the season. We will find out you the players that will start and the other that will play in the sub-packages. Bryant is another player that is going to have the chance to play right away.”

    On DE Nick Internicola (Pembroke Pines, Fla./University School): “He is from one of the top programs down in Florida and an aggressive, physical player. Nick is a relentless competitor and fits the mold of what a Rutgers defensive player is. We can’t wait to get him on campus this summer.”

    On DT Sebastian Joseph (Stroudsburg, Pa./Stroudsburg): “He plays defensive end on his team, but is someone for us who really projects to be a three-technique. He is a really exciting player to watch on film. Right now he is about 265 pounds and we project him to get a bit bigger throughout his career. He will be a legitimate pass rusher at his position and someone that will continue in the line of Eric Foster, Justin Francis and hopefully he gives us the ability to rush the passer from that position.”

    On DT Josh Klecko (Colts Neck, N.J./Red Bank Catholic): “Josh certainly has a familiar last name to people around here. However, his resume stands alone. Josh is an excellent addition to our team, University and is someone who is as perfectly suited to play the nose guard as anyone I’ve seen on high school tape. He was constantly in the backfield in the film we watch, a playmaker at his position. He not only takes up blocks, but also can run to the ball with a high motor. We think he is going to have an excellent career here.”

    On QB Chris Laviano (Glen Head, N.Y./Holy Trinity): “I am very familiar with the league Chris played in and because of that, it did not take long for people from there to tell me that we needed to recruit this young man. That started at a young age and Chris led Holy Trinity to the Catholic league championship game as a freshman against St. Anthony’s. I don’t know if that feat has been repeated or has been done before. He is a special football player and I think in every class you have to get a quarterback who you feel can compete and lead your program. We’ve got quarterbacks in our program who I believe will create a very competitive spring. We will compete at every position, but at that one, we are going to have a group of players.”

    On LB Lester Liston (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc/Hargrave): “Lester is the one player from the 22 that is outside the ‘State of Rutgers’ and from Michigan. He went to prep school and is now with us. He is a very impressive player on tape – a very physical linebacker who runs to the ball well. One of the things that I am most excited about this recruiting class is I think we were able to continue our tradition of building speed in our defense. We have not had to sacrifice size to do that. That is always exciting to me as I look at the class on paper. He is a player who is not only going to have the opportunity to compete for a starting job this spring, but also to be in the rotation to play special teams. His body type should be able to do lot of things for us in our defense with all of our packages and on special teams.”

    On TE Taylor Marini (Oviedo, Fla./Lake Mary Prep): “Taylor is a player that is cut in the same mold as Sam Johnson. He is that type of player. He is a strong on-the-ball blocker. In his spare time in the past, he has wrestled alligators – I certainly find that interesting and it made for a little bit more interesting home visit when I was down there. But he has excellent hands, runs good routes and is physical on-the-ball blocker and is someone who is going to get bigger when he is here as well.”

    On OL Dorian Miller (Metuchen, N.J./Metuchen): “Dorian is from just down the road in Metuchen and is an offensive lineman. The last name is certainly familiar with his older brother being here a couple of years ago. Dorian is the type of offensive lineman that we want to recruit here. He is physical, aggressive, strong and an inside player. From looking at him from a strength perspective now, he is someone that should be able to come in an add depth at an early age. I think that position is tough to play early, but we have had a couple. But because of Dorian’s attributes, I think he is someone that is going to get an early chance with us. We look forward to having him.”

    On LB Myles Nash (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek): “Myles is another player from Timber Creek coming to Rutgers. Myles is a big athlete and is some that we think can play sam or outside linebacker here. He is also a player that can do a lot of things, including pass rushing and on special teams. He has done a lot of things at the high school level from linebacker to quarterback, but I think as he enters college he will finish in that outside linebacker role and become an excellent all-around football player for us.”

    On WR Andre Patton (Wilmington, Del./St. Elizabeth): “He is a wide receiver who I think can compete early on for playing time. He is a spectacular athlete and I want to say in the top five in Delaware high school basketball history in terms of scoring. He is an excellent football player and seems to get a little bit bigger each time I see him. Another excellent prospect for us from the state of Delaware – it has been a great recruiting area for us and he will be the next one in that line.”

    On DB Delon Stephenson (Sayreville, N.J./Sayreville/Milford): “He is someone who is here with us right now and is going to have the opportunity to compete at the corner position, which I think is critical. It has been excellent to have Delon here for a couple weeks already and to see how he has grown physically over the last year. We can’t wait to get to spring practice with him to see how much he can do for us and how soon he can do it.”

    On DB T.J. Taylor (Kendall Park, N.J./South Brunswick): “T.J. Taylor from South Brunswick High School, home of Mohamed Sanu, home of Jevon Tyree and now another player from there. Coach (Joe) George is now the high school coach there. He’s a safety. He is a long body. He is somebody that is still growing into his body. He’s an excellent player on high school film. He’s one of those guys that could be 20 pounds bigger in a year and a half because he’s just at the beginning stages, I think, of what his body is going to be. He runs really well and when we get him here in the summertime it will be interesting to see how fast we can get him in the depth, competing with the other safeties in our program and see what he can do for us at an early age.”

    On WR John Tsimis (Harrington Park, N.J./Bergen Catholic): “John did not play his senior year because of a knee injury. As a junior, he had a spectacular amount of highlights. Nunzio Campanile has done an excellent job in his couple of years there as head coach. John Tsimis is as good of a football player as you will see on film and an elite-level competitor. When he gets here, he will be somebody that is going to be able to compete right away with the other receivers because I have not seen a ball that he has dropped yet. He has got tremendous hands. We’re really excited to have him and we’re certainly excited to have another player from Bergen Catholic here at Rutgers with us.”

    On DE Kemoko Turay (Newark, N.J./Barringer): “Kemoko is a player who has not played a lot of football. This year, he came back to football. We were fortunate to have him in camp. I think he is a dynamic athlete and an explosive athlete. He spent most of his career in high school playing basketball and then came back this year to play football. I am really excited about what he is going to be. He is somebody that when he reaches his full potential, I think he could be a tremendous pass-rusher and somebody that will be able to change the game at the defensive end position.”

    On DE Eric Wiafe (Egg Harbor Twp., N.J./Egg Harbor Twp.: “Eric is a big, thick, strong defensive end who runs well to the football and a third player from Egg Harbor High School, with Tejay Johnson being somebody who is going to have a chance to compete at that corner position as well. I’m really excited that Eric Wiafe is the type of defensive lineman, physically, that we want to continue to recruit. He runs well to the ball, but at the same time we haven’t had to sacrifice size to get him in our program.”


    On if there is a more of a need this season to play true freshmen: “I think every position is a little bit different. I think when you look at our secondary there is opportunity. There is no doubt that there is going to be opportunity. Guys like Nadir Barnwell and Delon Stephenson are here right now with us. They’ll have a little bit more of an advantage, having the opportunity to go through spring and be in the meetings full time. We’re going to need more than two. It’s certainly a great opportunity for the players already on our team, but it’s going to be a tremendous opportunity for the incoming class to compete as well. It’s a position where it’s not just the starters; it’s the starters and the sub-packages. You’re looking for multiple people.”

    On if he felt like he used Rutgers going to the Big Ten as a selling point for recruiting: “To me, when you go out to recruit, the first thing you have to do is identify the players that can help you win the National Championship, because that’s the first thing you see and the first thing you really know is what they look like as a player. I think once you get that group of players, you have to identify that ones that have the core values that you’re looking for in a person and the ones that are right for your university. What the Big Ten does for us is it eliminates questions. Before that, I think we had to answer some questions about what was going to happen in the future. All of those questions have been eliminated. We’re going to be playing in the premier athletic and academic conference in all of college sports. We couldn’t be more excited about doing that. It has not changed our approach, but what it has done is it has kind of streamlined some of the questions that we have had to answer when you’re getting to know a recruit.”

    On his thoughts on the impact on recruiting that the move to the Big Ten has made: “I don’t see recruiting that way. The art, the success, the importance of recruiting is exactly what I said. Find the players you can win the National Championship with and then indentify the ones that are right for your university. We’ve done a good job of that and I feel like we have done an excellent job of that this year and that’s why I’m so excited about this group.”

    On how comfortable he is only having one offensive lineman in this recruiting class: “What I’m excited about is that I think we got an excellent player in Dorian Miller coming to Rutgers. Every year, there are going to be different numbers at different classes. I think the one thing you don’t want to do is get concerned that there is one. What I don’t want to do as the head coach and say, ‘Well, we have to take another one.’ We’re going to find the players that are right for us and the players that can help us win the National Championship. I know that Dorian Miller can do that for us and that’s why we’re so excited to have him in the program.”

    On if this is the full recruiting class or if there are going to be more: “These are really the only players that I anticipate.”

    On if it concerns him about where the recruits come from: “I’m really excited about the 11 players we have signed from New Jersey. That is what I am most pleased with. I don’t ever look at recruiting saying we have to take a certain percentage from here or here or here. We want to find the best players that are right for us and I feel that we have done that.”

    On T.J. Taylor coming in getting to stay local: “Anytime you have a player who grows up and goes to school as close to our university as a player like T.J. Taylor or I could use a player like Anthony Davis or a player like Mohamed Sanu, I think it’s a special thing. It’s not only a special thing for Rutgers football and Rutgers University; it’s a special thing for T.J. Taylor and his family. It’s a special thing for South Brunswick High School. I think it creates a situation that is really positive for the entire community here in New Jersey.”

    On what makes the local Piscataway High School so special with players like Nadir Barnwell this year: “We have quite a few excellent programs in our home state here in New Jersey. Coach (Dan) Higgins runs one that is as good as anybody’s at Piscataway High School. I remember Devraun Thompson. I remember Brandon Renkart who came here, became a captain and then went on to the NFL. Certainly, Anthony Davis, people know his resume. Marvin Booker, who was a senior for us this year from Piscataway High School and now we’re fortunate to have Nadir in our program. Again, similar to what I said about T.J., it has created an atmosphere that has certainly been beneficial to us here at Rutgers, but I think also a good situation for the people at Piscataway High School that when they turn on the TV on Saturday, when they come to High Point Solutions Stadium here on Saturday, they get to see their own playing in their home state and I think that’s a positive.”

    On his view on rankings and stars: “The rankings and stars don’t have any impact on us. We certainly track and study a lot of things as college coaches, but if you go back and look at our 2005 recruiting class, I want to say that 15 of the recruits in that class were two-stars and we ultimately had eight players play in the NFL from that class. Seven of the eight the eight that played in the NFL were two-stars. I think those rankings; they can skew what’s really important. What’s really important is finding the players that are right for your program. That is so much more important than what a player could be ranked because a player that is really successful in our program here at Rutgers, part of it is because they are right for Rutgers. I don’t know if they went somewhere else that they would be as successful. I don’t know that every player would have the same success at every program. I actually don’t believe that they would. I think it works perfectly when you find the right players for your program. Devin and Jason McCourty, before they had the NFL resumes that they do, they were the right people for Rutgers and I have to believe that that’s part of the reason why they’ve had the success that they have.”

    On Anthony Cioffi being the first to sign in the class and if he sees him as more of a corner or safety: “It was tremendous. I see Anthony as a corner, to answer that part of it quickly. Here’s what made that meeting so special to me, I sat in my office with Anthony and his parents and we talked about offering him a scholarship. The next words that came out of his mouth were, ‘I’ve dreamed of being a football player at Rutgers my whole life.’ That was special. I have heard that more and more in the eight years I have been here at Rutgers. I think as we go forward and continue to have success, we’re going to hear it more and more in the future as well.”

    On the luxury of having an entire year to recruit this season: “I don’t know that we ever see it as a luxury, but it was certainly a different experience. I think the challenge of this year’s recruiting class, we certainly knew the players that we were targeting before last year’s signing class, similar to this year. We already have the players that we’re targeting and then we’ll watch the progress of some others. I think the challenge of this year’s recruiting class was taking nine assistant coaches from nine different areas and really getting them to know the players and getting the recruits to know them just to make sure that those relationships worked the way we wanted them to. We had a lot of moving parts this year. That’s a little bit different than last year and I’m pleased. Now, going forward I’m excited. With our staff in place, we will be able to go forward with some already preexisting relationships and I think that’s always a positive in recruiting.”

    On the impact of not having Tim Pernetti on the staff recruiting this year: “My thought on that was next year, we would bring Tim back [laughing]. I think if you go back and year, anytime you’re able to take your athletic director, who is a representative of your football program, by title alone but for Tim it’s not just by title alone. He’s an alumnus of our program and somebody who played here and you have the ability to put him on the road, there’s a benefit. There’s a bonus and it’s a big one. For somebody who can speak directly as the athletic director to a recruit, it makes a difference and I know it made a difference last year.”

    On his overall thoughts of this recruiting class and if it filled all of the needs: “As the head coach, I feel very comfortable saying that it filled all of our needs. I think if I rewind myself to when I was a position coach, you always want more. I think if you polled the assistant coaches, you’d find they all want more. That’s just the nature of the job, but I feel very good that we have filled all of the needs that I set out to get before we got into this class. What I’m most excited about is I feel like we have a bigger, faster team going forward because of this recruiting class. That’s what I’m really most excited about. It’s not just at the offensive and the defensive line positions. Players like Nadir Barnwell, Anthony Cioffi, T.J. Taylor, Delon Stephenson, these are 5-foot-11, 6-foot-0, 6-foot-1 skilled athletes. Andre Patton is 6-foot-4. We have been able to add a tremendous amount of size with speed and that combination, together with the fact that these are the right people for Rutgers, we have a bright future with these players in place.”

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