As several Greater Middlesex Conference high school football coaches expressed disappointment over the firing of Kyle Flood, at least one player from the league who has made a nonbinding commitment to Rutgers remains unwavering in his decision to attend the state university.
Colonia senior linebacker Solomon Manning said he remains committed to the Scarlet Knights, regardless of who they hire as the next head coach.
“I’m still going to be fully committed,” Manning said, “as long as they (honor their scholarship offer).”https://twitter.com/Alwayss_Winning/status/671041114422558720
Rutgers currently has 18 nonbinding commitments for the Class of 2016 and all four of its commits from New Jersey are GMC seniors.
South Brunswick seniors Mohamed Jabbie (athlete) and Phil Campbell (linebacker) both said they wanted to focus on Saturday’s Central Group V championship game against Old Bridge at High Point Solutions Stadium before commenting on their commitment to Rutgers in the wake of Flood’s firing.
“I think that coach Flood was a good coach,” Jabbie said. “I liked him a lot. We had a really good connection. I’m not talking right now about how I feel about Rutgers. I’m focusing on our state championship game.”
Campbell said he also wanted to “leave that (topic) alone right now.”
“I’m focused on giving my 100 percent to get that ring and to beat Old Bridge,” Campbell said. “I’m going to really think about what I have to do. For right now, I’m going to finish out this week.”
St. Joseph senior Nick Krimin, one of the country’s most highly touted linemen, could not be immediately reached for comment, but his high school coach, Casey Ransone, who has yet to talk to Krimin since Flood was fired, said he believes Krimin may weigh his options.
“I don’t want to speak on Nick’s behalf or what his thought process is, but I think Nick was very committed to Coach Flood,” Ransone said. “Knowing how close he was with Coach Flood and how comfortable he felt with him, I think this may open up the door for him to make a decision. That’s not to say he won’t continue to go to Rutgers, but he will probably sit back and try to figure out what’s best for him and his family. It depends on who they bring into the program and whether Nick still feels comfortable with him.
“Unfortunately, that’s the business side of college athletics. But you also have to look at it from a kid’s perspective. They’ve got to make the correct decision about what’s best for them academically and athletically. I think in this situation, Nick may take a step back and re-evaluate where he’s at.”
Brian Dohn, national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, said it’s too early to tell what impact Flood’s firing, if any, will have on Rutgers’ current recruiting class.
“When kids commit, we all like to talk about the staff and how much they like the coaches,” Dohn said. “What happens, though, is they start forging a lot of really nice bonds with the rest of the (incoming) class and they are quickly made aware that they committed to a school and not a coaching staff.”
Dohn noted that recruits must consider that the head coach of the school to which they commit may not be around by the time they graduate college, and that in the event of unforeseen circumstances, such as a career-ending injury, it’s paramount that a player select a school for reasons beyond its staff.
Colonia head coach Tom Roarty and South Brunswick head coach Joe Goerge both called Flood’s firing “a sad day” for New Jersey high school football.
“Kyle is a great guy,” Roarty said. “He’s been great to the high school coaches in the state, always willing to help us whenever we needed help. He runs great clinics there and really opened the doors to Rutgers and made us all feel like we are part of a big family.”
Goerge, who has a third player, sophomore wide receiver Justin Shorter, that the Scarlet Knights were recruiting, said Flood “did everything the right way” and that for that reason Flood “will land on his feet.”
“I think this is just where the game has gone today,” Goerge said. “There’s a lot of outside influences – fans and everybody have a say in things – and nobody really knows what goes on behind closed doors.”