With the Rutgers football team's season kicking off, there's still plenty of work to do on the recruiting end as the high school football season is also starting. There are plenty of recruiting storylines for the Scarlet Knights (1-0, 1-0) as they enter September.
Recruiting targets and commits alike take in opening win
Several commits in the class of 2024 attended the game, including four-star tight end KJ Duff, four-star defensive back Kaj Sanders, three-star quarterback AJ Surace, three-star running back Gabriel Winowich, three-star running back Edd Guerrier, three-star offensive lineman Kenny Jones, three-star defensive back Dahkari Gilley, three-star defensive lineman Aaris Bethea, three-star defensive back Antonio White, three-star wide receiver Isaiah Crumpler and three-star tight end Matthew Ogunniyi.
Rutgers welcomed many underclassmen recruits to Saturday's game, mainly from the class of 2025. A trio of pass-catchers, including four-star tight end Luka Gilbert from Ohio, wide receiver Lyrick Samuel from Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn and wide receiver Jalil Hall from Pennsylvania, visited SHI Stadium on Busch campus.
Several New Jersey recruits were also in attendance for the game, including three-star offensive tackle Nathan Pahanich from the Hun School in Princeton, his teammate, four-star linebacker Kamar Archie, as well as three-star athlete De'zie Jones from DePaul Catholic, four-star cornerback Jahmir Joseph from St. Joseph's and three-star athlete Renick Dorilas from Union.
It was important for Rutgers to show off its best performance in front of a huge group of recruits, and the team did exactly that.
The Knights' top quarterback commit in the 2024 class starts his senior year strong
Rutgers quarterback commit Surace, the starting quarterback for Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, has started his senior season on a high note. He has showcased not only his passing prowess but also his ability to run the ball when the play breaks down.
In a season-opening win over Wayne Valley, Surace passed for 176 yards on 15-of-16 attempts and led the Irish in rushing by racking up 220 yards on the ground. Surace also rushed for three long touchdown runs of 64 yards, 45 yards and 32 yards.
The following weekend, Notre Dame defeated Allentown High School in a 55-45 shootout. Surace again led the team through the air, completing 19 of his 24 passes for 250 yards and five touchdowns. While Surace wasn't as effective as a runner in this game, he still finished as the team's second-leading rusher, gaining 84 yards and a score on the ground.
There has never been a question about Surace's passing ability, especially given his background as Princeton football head coach Bob Surace's son, but the ability to rush the ball when the play breaks down has been a pleasant surprise for the Knights.
A Rutgers commit will be giving Notre Dame high school more reinforcements
Surace, leading the way for the Irish through the air and on the ground, has helped lessen the impact of not having fellow Rutgers commit, three-star athlete Winowich, in the backfield.
Winowich, who transferred to Notre Dame from Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Michigan, over the summer, has been unable to play in the Irish's first two games due to NJSIAA transfer regulations.
Winowich was initially ruled ineligible for the first three games of the season, but the suspension has since been reduced to two games. He will now be able to play for Notre Dame starting this Saturday against Nottingham.
This means that Surace and Winowich will get a head start on building their relationship in the backfield before most likely joining the Knights for spring practices.
As the high school and college seasons progress, there will certainly be more to look out for on the recruiting trail, especially with a strong 2024 class for head coach Greg Schiano.
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