PISCATAWAY, NJ - Rutgers University head football coach Greg Schiano announced his 2005 recruiting class this afternoon during a press conference at the Hale Center. The 22-member class includes 10 student-athletes who competed scholastically in New Jersey, one junior college performer, six Florida standouts and two from New York and Canada and one from Pennsylvania. It is the fifth recruiting class for Schiano, who was named head coach on December 1, 2000." />
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Rutgers Football Announces 2005 Recruiting Class
  • Posted on February 02, 2005 12:00:00 AM
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  • PISCATAWAY, NJ - Rutgers University head football coach Greg Schiano announced his 2005 recruiting class this afternoon during a press conference at the Hale Center. The 22-member class includes 10 student-athletes who competed scholastically in New Jersey, one junior college performer, six Florida standouts and two from New York and Canada and one from Pennsylvania. It is the fifth recruiting class for Schiano, who was named head coach on December 1, 2000.

    “When we arrived here four years ago, we set a plan in place to build a program that the people at Rutgers and the people in the state of New Jersey could be proud of,” said Schiano. “We said we were going to build it the right way and when it was built, it would be built to last. I think today’s recruiting class is another huge step in that process.” “I am excited about not only the level of athleticism, but how it is distributed through the position groups. I think we are at a point where we don’t have any immediate needs, but we are in the process of replenishing our talent.”

    The class boasts a high school All-American (OL Dave McClain) and several All-State performers, include New Jersey First Team All-Stater Ryan Blaszczyk from Shawnee High School and second team pick Jabu Lovelace of Tenafly. Two of the 22 recruits have already begun school, as McClain and Jonathan Pierre-Etienne are enrolled in spring classes.

    There are also several links between members of the 2005 recruiting class and the returning players. Running back Jerome Messam hails from the same high school (Notre Dame in Brampton, Ontario) as current Scarlet Knights Jason Nugent and Jamal Westerman while Devin and Jason McCourty played alongside starting safety Ron Girault at St. Joseph’s High School in Montvale, NJ. WR Chris McClover attended Dillard HS, the same high school as RB Markis Facyson, while Davon Smart (Hackensack) played alongside Kevin Brock.

    “I am really pleased with the way this group meshes with our current group of players. Our players did an excellent job during the recruiting process representing all the great things at Rutgers University.”

    Ryan Blaszczyk
    Offensive Line
    Medford Lakes, NJ/Shawnee
    First Team All-State pick in 2004 by The Star Ledger and Associated Press … Rated by the Philadelphia Inquirer as one of the top offensive linemen in South Jersey … Ranked by scout.com as the 40th-best player in New Jersey … Two-time All-Conference, All-Group IV, and All-League pick … Brooks Irvine Memorial FB Club Defensive Lineman of the Year … Three-year starter on varsity … All-Area by Philadelphia Inquirer … Helped lead Shawnee to a No. 5 ranking in the final Star Ledger New Jersey poll after posting a perfect 12-0 record in 2004 … Team outscored opponents 200-37 in 2004 … Won the Group IV South Championship as a sophomore and senior. … “Ryan’s best football is ahead of him,” said Shawnee head coach Tim Gushue. “He was excellent for us and will only continue to get better once he gets into the weight room and with the coaches up there at Rutgers.”

    Dennis Campbell
    Plantation, FL/Plantation
    Talented performer on both sides of the ball … Ran for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior at Plantation HS … Carried the ball 34 times for 257 yards (7.6 avg.) and six TD’s as a senior … Also caught seven passes for 186 yards and three scores … Team finished 9-0 overall and 3-0 in conference action in 2004, winning the district championship … Also saw action at defensive back, intercepting two passes with seven pass-break-ups … Also returned kickoffs and punts, averaging 18.3 yards per punt return … Ran for 129 yards as a sophomore vs. Miami Central, then ranked No. 3 in the country, in an upset win in the state playoffs … Three-year starter … All-County pick and First Team All-Conference … Earned Class 6A All-State (HM) honors … Played in the Broward-Miami Dade County All-Star game, catching a five-yard TD pass, and earned Broward MVP honors … “Out of the nine players we will have signing scholarships this year, he is probably the most athletic of the entire group,” said Plantation head coach Frank Hepler. “He has the ability to play offense, defense and on special teams. He is one of the most talented and special players I have coached.”

    Chris Dirksz
    Defensive End
    Miami, FL/Krop
    Four-year letter winner and three-year varsity starter at Krop … Earned All-Dade honors from the Miami Herald in 2004 … Selected to play in Nike Miami Dade-Broward All-Star game … Elevated to varsity as a offensive lineman during his freshman year … Started at defensive end as a sophomore and at inside linebacker as a junior … Moved back to defensive end as a senior, finishing second on the team with 91 tackles, including 45 solos … Also had nine tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery … Team finished 4-5 in 2004 … Posted an undefeated record as a member of the Krop wrestling team as a junior … “Chris is, by far, one of the most intense players I have every coached,” said Krop head coach Mike Searcy. “He trains, practices and plays at 100 miles per hour. He is also a model student and good, all-around kid.”

    Kevin Haslam
    Offensive Line
    Mahwah, NJ/Mahwah
    Earned All-County honors in 2004 from The Record and The Star Ledger… Was a two-time All-League pick … Two-year starter at right tackle and defensive end for Mahwah … Earned three varsity letters … Allowed just two total sacks as a junior and senior … Also played three years of basketball … “Kevin is a bit of a late bloomer, but he has the work ethic and desire to be a really special player,” said Mahwah head coach Jeff Remo. “He is already a strong kid and he is working hard every day to get bigger.”

    Glen Lee
    Defensive Back
    New Rochelle, NY/New Rochelle
    First Team All-State pick at safety … Was a three-year starter at defensive back for New Rochelle, playing corner as a sophomore and junior before moving to free safety as a senior … Had 106 tackles in 2004, earning First Team All-League and All-Section honors … Also amassed 33 tackles-for-loss, six interceptions and 10 forced fumbles in 2004 … Also caught three passes for 53 yards and a touchdown … Was an All-League and All-Section pick in 2003 as well … Also saw time at split end on offense all three years … “Glen was widely regarded as the hardest hitting defensive back in Section I,” said head coach Lou DiRenzo. “He really has a knack for getting to the ball and plays an extremely physical brand of football.”

    Jabu Lovelace
    Tenafly, NJ/Tenafly
    Was an All-State, All-League and All-County pick as a senior at quarterback … Also earned All-State honors (Second Team) as a defensive back from the Associated Press … Named Group II Player of the Year and was a MSG Heisman All-Star … Named All-North Jersey and All-County by The Record … Ranked as the No. 28 player in New Jersey by scout.com … Three-year starter … Threw for 1,638 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 940 yards and 10 touchdowns as a double-threat quarterback … Led Tenafly to the state playoffs for the first time since 1998 with a 6-4 record … Rated the No. 27 dual threat quarterback in the country by Rivals.com … Also played safety, recording 120 tackles as a junior, an average of 12.0 per game, earning All-Group, All-Conference and All-County honors … Also competed in the 400m, 200m, high jump and long jump … “Jabu is one of the most committed athletes I have ever met,” said head coach Kevin Kreso. “He never missed a workout and did whatever he could to become a better player.”

    Kevin Malast
    Manchester, NJ/Manchester
    Was the first recruit for the 2005 class, verbally committing in February of 2004 … Played both tailback and linebacker … Had 40-straight starts at Manchester … Was a three-time First Team All-Conference pick by the Asbury Park Press … Also earned First Team All-County honors from the Star Ledger and Ocean County Observer … Earned Group II All-State honors and was named to the New Jersey Football Coaches’ Association Super 100 … Ranked by scout.com as the 39th-best player in New Jersey …Earned team MVP award in 2003 and 2004 … Led Manchester with 107 tackles in 2004, including eight tackles-for-loss and three sacks … Had an interception return for 55 yards for a touchdown … Rushed for 1,277 yards and 12 touchdowns, also team bests … Father, Bill, is an assistant coach at Manchester while brothers Bill (New Hampshire) and Brian (VMI) played college football … Also a standout wrestler, amassing over 100 career wins while competing at 189 and 215 pounds …Advanced to the state tournament as a junior … Also competes in baseball … “The thing that stands out about Kevin is his work ethic,” said Manchester head coach Rob Panique. “He never missed a snap for us on offense or defense and plays a tough, physical brand of football. He is extremely strong and one of the most skilled football players I have ever coached.”

    Dave McClain
    Offensive Line
    Jamison, PA/Central Bucks South
    Earned All-America honors from Super Prep … All-Conference and All-State pick by Philadelphia Inquirer … First Team All-State selection by the Associated Press and Pennsylvania Football News at left tackle … Rated the 11th-best player in Pennsylvania by rivals.com and the 21st-best offensive guard nationally … Ranked by scout.com as the seventh-best player in Pennsylvania and the second-best offensive lineman …Played for Central Bucks South, a first year program, as a senior and led all linemen with 127 pancake blocks, including 27 in one game … Rated one of the top three linemen in his area by the Philadelphia Inquirer … Played three years at Central Bucks East, earning three varsity letters … Was an All-Suburban One league pick as a junior and senior … “Dave is an impressive physical specimen and an imposing player,” said head coach Bart Szarko. “What sets him apart from other linemen is his ability to finish off his blocks. He has a bit of a mean streak in him on the field.”

    Chris McClover
    Wide Receiver
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL/Dillard
    First Team All-County and All-League honoree from the Miami Herald and Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel … Selected to play in Dade-Broward All-Star game … Also earned All-Conference honors as a junior … Caught 29 passes for 482 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior … Ranked fourth in the county in catches, fifth in yards and second in touchdowns among receivers … Competes in track as well and is ranked second in the county in the 400 meter dash … Three-year varsity team member and two-year starter … “Chris is an incredible athlete with great size and great hands,” said Dillard head coach Keith Franklin. “He has a chance to do very well on the college level.”

    Devin McCourty
    Defensive Back
    Nanuet, NY/St. Joseph’s (Montvale)
    Earned First Team All-League honors as a junior and senior … Was an All-Bergen County pick by The Record in 2004 … Led St. Joseph’s to an 11-1 season in 2004, including a 42-8 win over Pope John in the Parochial Group III final at Rutgers Stadium … Missed the first two games of the season with a hip flexor injury … Three-year starter, starting at free safety as a sophomore and cornerback as a junior and senior … Intercepted first pass of the game vs. Paramus Catholic 43 yards for a touchdown … Also saw time on offensive as a slot back. … Had 7 receptions for 145 yards and 1 touchdown vs. Bergen Catholic … Finished his senior year with 50 tackles and three interceptions, playing at both cornerback and free safety … Registered 16 tackles and one INT vs. Don Bosco … Starting guard on 15-0 basketball team, which is ranked 10th in the state … “He has great versatility in that he can play several different positions – shudown corner, free safety as a run support guy, offensively as a slot back,” said head coach Tony Karcich. “He is like a coach on the field with his outstanding knowledge and ability to make adjustments.”

    Jason McCourty
    Defensive Back
    Nanuet, NY/St. Joseph’s (Montvale)
    Earned All-State (Star Ledger, Associated Press) and All-League honors as a senior and was an All-Parochial pick as both a junior and senior … Named to MSG High School Heisman Team … Carried 94 times for 1,083 yards as a senior, averaging a school-record 11.5 yards per carry … Also had 15 catches for 407 yards, an average of 27.8 per catch … Accounted for 25 touchdowns for St. Joseph’s, which finished the season at 11-1 including a 42-8 win over Pope John in the Parochial Group III final at Rutgers Stadium … Played defensive back as well, returning an INT 81 yards for a touchdown vs. Paterson Eastside … Gained 125 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries in win over Belleville … Rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns on three carries vs. Nutley … Ranked by scout.com as the 38th-best player in New Jersey … Starting guard on 15-0 basketball team, which is ranked 10th in the state … “I think he will be remembered as one of the best all-time athletes at St. Joe’s,” said head coach Tony Karcich. “He filled a big void for us at running back and, defensively, is a great cornerback who can play man-to-man with anybody.”

    Jerome Messam
    Running Back
    Brampton, Ontario/Notre Dame
    Ran for 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns in 11 games as a senior at Notre Dame … Carried 172 times for 1,374 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 8.0 yards per carry as a member of the Brampton Bulldogs in the Ontario Varsity Football League … Ran 13 times for 174 yards and one touchdown in the second game of the season and, two weeks later, carried 25 times for 176 yards and one touchdown … Rushed 24 times for 330 yards and five touchdowns in week 10 … Owns the league record with a 109-yard run from scrimmage, set in 2003 … Also played safety on defense … Ran for over 2,000 yards and averaged over 10 yards per carry as a junior and sophomore at Notre Dame … Selected to Team Canada in the Global Junior Championships in 2004, which will take place in Jacksonville during the week of the Super Bowl … Also excels in basketball, leading his team to the league championship in 2003-2004 … Ranked as one of the top 15 basketball players in the Toronto area … “Jerome is an extremely talented athlete,” said Notre Dame head coach Dario Pretto. “He is fast, strong and explosive on offense.”

    Damaso Munoz
    Miami, FL/Southridge
    Had 88 tackles, 8 forced fumbles, 5 sacks, and an interception as a junior in 2003 … Also finished second in the state at 160 pounds in wrestling … Earned All-Dade honors from the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel in 2004 … Registered 55 tackles as a senior … Saw time at linebacker and running back … Played in Dade-Broward All-Star game … Four-year starter at linebacker … “He is a special player with great football instincts,” said Southridge head coach Rodney Hunter.

    Jonathan Pierre-Etienne
    Defensive End
    Montreal, Quebec/Vieux Montreal
    Finished his senior season with 11 sacks, despite missing two games … Set a provincial record with six sacks in a game … Amassed over 60 tackles with 11 sacks, three blocked punts and two blocked field goals … Earned All-AAA honors in 2003 and was named the league’s best defensive end … Led his team to an 11-1 record and a bowl game victory … Amassed 54 tackles, including 29 tackles-for-loss, 10 sacks, three blocked kicks and two forced fumbles in 2003 … Named to Team Canada practice squad in 2003 … Set the single-season school record with 15 sacks in 2000 … “Jonathan is an extremely dedicated young man,” said Vieux Montreal head coach Marc Santerre. “He is strong and gets great leverage from his position. He will only get better playing at Rutgers.”

    Chris Quaye
    Timber Creek, NJ/Timber Creek
    Two-way standout at Timber Creek in 2004 … Was a unanimous All-Conference pick at linebacker and earned All-State Group III honors … Missed the first four games of his senior season due to injury, but bounced back to contribute at both linebacker and fullback … Had 72 tackles in 2004, including 26 tackles-for-loss … Also gained 305 rushing yards with one touchdown and caught six passes for 57 yards as a fullback … Earned All-Conference honors … Led the team with 118 tackles as a junior in 2003 and picked up 848 rushing yards with six touchdowns … Named to All-South Jersey Preseason All-Star team in 2004 … Also competes in the throwing events in track and field … “The thing I’ll miss most about Chris is having him around our program,” said Timber Creek head coach John Small. “He is not only one of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet, but he is also a great player. He is an extremely intelligent football player and has improved dramatically in my two years here. He leads by example and when he turned it up a notch, he was unstoppable on both sides of the ball.”

    Raymell Rice
    Running Back
    New Rochelle, NY/New Rochelle
    Rated the 19th-best all-purpose back in the country by rivals.com … Also rated the seventh-best player in New York by scout.com … Named to MSG All-Heisman Team … Earned First Team All-State honors … Played both running back and cornerback … Ran 112 times for 1,192 yards as a senior with 31 touchdowns … Had a long run of 82 yards … Caught 10 passes for 302 yards and five scores … Had 44 tackles on defense, as well as four sacks and two INT’s … Returned seven punts for 83 yards and four kickoffs for 276 yards (53.5 avg.) … Also kicked for New Rochelle, converting 39 extra points and two field goals (long of 31 yards) … Led team to Class AA State Championship game with a 32-6 win over Webster Schroeder, earning Offensive MVP honors … Carried 17 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns in title game … Is also a standout on New Rochelle’s basketball team, starting at point guard … Led team to state finals in 2003-2004 … Ran for 105 yards on just four carries in a season-opening win over White Plains … Rushed for 1,332 yards and 21 scores as a junior … “Raymell is a tremendous athlete and an extremely hard worker,” said New Rochelle head coach Lou DiRenzo. “He was one of the best running backs in the state and should be successful on the college level.”

    Darren Salinardi
    Jersey City, NJ/Hudson Catholic (Kent Hill)
    Spent the 2004 season at Kent Hill School in Maine … First Team All-League pick and First Team All-NEPSAC (New England Preparatory School Athletic Conference) … Averaged 8.2 per game at defensive tackle in 2004 … Also had seven sacks … Voted team MVP … Was a three-year starter on both sides of the ball at Hudson Catholic … Rated 68th nationally at defensive end by The Insiders.com in 2004 … Was a first team All-County pick on both sides of the ball and also earned Parochial All-State honors at defensive end in 2003 … Was an All-Hudson County pick as a junior as well as the Hudson Catholic Offensive Player of the Year … Was an All-Hudson County pick in 2003 as well … Team finished 7-2-1 in 2003 … “Darren was the cream of the crop in our program and he displayed outstanding leadership qualities,” said Kent Hill head coach Jim Smucker. “He was an outstanding influence on the younger players and really grew as a student and young man. He gave 100% on the field and in the classroom and was a pleasure to be around.”

    Davon Smart
    Hackensack, NJ/Hackensack
    Ranked the No. 37 player in New Jersey by scout.com … Earned First Team All-League, All-Conference and All-Group honors … Three-year starter … Missed four games due to injury as a senior … Ran for 103 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries in his first game back, a 32-31 win over Ridgewood … Carried 29 times for 229 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-18 win over Paramus Catholic, including 214 yards in the second half … Ran for five touchdowns, gaining 227 yards on 25 carries, and added a forced fumble and interception on defense in Hackensack’s 34-31 win over Randolph in the state semifinals … Rushed for 107 yards in the Group IV North I state championship game, despite playing with a broken hand … Finished his senior season with 152 carries for 1,180 yards and 15 touchdowns in eight games … Also posted 26 tackles, three interceptions and three forced fumbles as a corner … Totaled over 1,000 rushing yards three-straight years, playing in the offensive backfield with current RU RB Jean Beljour in 2002 and 2003 … “He is a very smart, intelligent football player,” said Hackensack head coach Ralph Dass. “He is very coachable and will continue to get better, especially once he gets into Rutgers’ weight program. He understands the game very well and knows how to prepare himself to be successful.” … Father, Jerome, served as the head boys’ basketball coach at Paterson Catholic and now coaches AAU basketball with the Tim Thomas Playaz, one of the nation’s top AAU programs.

    Darnell Stapleton
    Offensive Lineman
    Union, NJ/Union (Hudson Valley CC)
    Started at center and tackle for two seasons at Hudson Valley Community College, which captured the conference and Region III Championship in 2004 … Played and started in 11 games in 2004 …Selected to First Team All-Northeast Football Conference … Named preseason NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American … Finished his career as the only player in Hudson Valley history to start 21 consecutive games …Offense averaged 280.3 yards per game, including 169.7 rushing yards per game …Team finished 8-3 in 2004 and 8-2 in 2003, when he earned Second Team All-League honors … Named First Team All-Watchung Conference and First Team All-Union County as a senior…Played in New Jersey’s North-South All-Star Game … “Darnell was the most athletic big man we had in my seven years at Hudson Valley,” said former Hudson Valley head coach Bob Jojo. “He’s a good leader, a good athlete, and is strong academically.”

    Vantrise Studivant
    Defensive End
    Riviera Beach, FL/Suncoast
    Earned All-Area football honors as a tight end from the Palm Beach Post … Had 67 tackles and five sacks as a senior at Suncoast High School … Also caught two touchdowns from his tight end position … Played in Outback Steakhouse All-Star game, comprised primarily of players from Palm Beach County … Had 22 catches for 507 yards and five touchdowns in his career … Also had 162 tackles, including 12 tackles-for-loss, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two interceptions … Also had 32 pancake blocks as a senior … “I have coached Vantrise since his freshman year and he has started every game for us the past four seasons,” said Suncoast head coach Jimmie Bell. “He has been the cornerstone of our program and I am hopeful for greater things from him on the next level. His is going to be difficult to replace in our program and as a coach, you hope for another player like him down the road.”

    Tiquan Underwood
    Wide Receiver
    Lawrenceville, NJ/Notre Dame
    Returned to wide receiver in 2004 after spending his junior season at quarterback, but was injured in his third game of the season … Had 17 catches for over 400 yards in just over two games in 2004 before an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year … Completed 70 of 103 passes for 1,144 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior … Also rushed for two touchdowns and caught 10 passes for 212 yards and five scores … Earned All-County honors as a junior and sophomore … Had 35 catches for 606 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore … Starter at point guard as a sophomore and junior on the basketball team and was team’s leading scorer in 2003-2004 … Also triple jumps and competes in hurdles for outdoor track team … Owns state record for sophomores and juniors in the triple jump … “Tiquan is one of the most exciting players and athletes that I have ever been around,” said Notre Dame head coach Chappy Moore. “He is electrifying on the football field.”

    Gary Watts
    Defensive End
    Miami, FL/Norland
    Ranked the 33rd-best weak-side defensive end by rivals.com … Also named to Postseason Florida Top 100 (96) … Earned All-Dade County honors from the Miami Herald as a junior and senior … Played in Dade/Broward All-Star game … Two-year starter at defensive end … Posted 89 tackles with six sacks, five forced fumbles and four pass break ups as a junior … Added 49 tackles and seven sacks in five games during his senior season, which was cut short due to injury … Only began playing football in ninth grade … Also saw time at tight end … Nominated for high school All-America honors … Earned team’s Most Improved Award as a junior … Also played varsity basketball as a freshman and sophomore before choosing to concentrate on football.

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