Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
RU Decommits No Big Deal, Experts Say; Simms, Manning Spoke to Teel
Four prep football players have decommitted from the Rutgers football team, but a couple of recruiting experts say it’s not that big a deal.
RB Desmond Scott, C Mark Brazinski, OL Malcolm Bunche and TE Malcolm Bush (pictured) have all decommitted, but John Otterstedt of ScarletNation.com says Rutgers still has a strong class.
“When Rutgers nearly completed their recruiting class before many schools had picked up a third of their classes, it was pretty obvious that they wouldn’t roll into Signing Day without a few changes,” Otterstedt said. “Desmond Scott’s commitment hurt since it was a position of need [running back], but then again, his commitment was just as much of a shock since it came on a whim. The other one that came as a bit of a shock was Mark Brazinski, who appeared to be 100% RU after a large press conference to announce his decision.
“This is still a very good class that still ranks up there with the best of Schiano’s classes at Rutgers. We are still three months away from the final Signing Day push, so there are a lot of things that can happen.”
The Rutgers class is led by 6-foot-4, 217-pound QB Tom Savage of Cardinal O’Hara (Pa.), who could compete for the starting QB job next season with Jabu Lovelace, D.C. Jefferson and Dom Natale. Tom Lemming of College Sports TV says there is a national trend toward players committing early and then decommitting.
“I don’t think it really means a whole lot because there’s a lot of guys decommitting from a lot of schools, even winners,” Lemming said.
“It just seems to be an epidemic right now, kids making hasty and not well thought out decisions and then just going back and wanting to visit other schools. It seems like it’s not really a mark against one school or another, it seems to be happening at every school.
“It’s just a sign of the times. It really doesn’t effect Rutgers that much. It’s not really a mark against Rutgers just because some of the winning teams are losing guys, too.”
SIMMS, MANNING SPOKE TO TEELRutgers QB Mike Teel said during a Saturday interview on SNY that both former Giants QB Phil Simms and current Giants QB Eli Manning have called Teel this season to offer him words of encouragment.
Before last week’s 6-TD explosion in a 54-34 win at Pitt, Teel had thrown 3 TDs and 7 INTs on the year. During a loss at Navy, he lashed out and smacked teammate Glen Lee in the helmet. Teel has also been booed by fans at Rutgers Stadium.
“I’ve had a lot of support from a lot of different people, obviously my family and my coaches and my teammates,” said Teel, who last week was named the Big East and USA Today Player of the Week. “I’ve gotten phonecalls from people that I’ve grown up watching on TV and people that really have supported me throughout my career.”
Asked how important the Simms call was, Teel said: “It was extremely important. He says, ‘You know what, I’ve been there. I’ve done the same that you’ve done. I’ve struggled. I’ve gotten booed. And the bottom line is you’re going to go out and you’re going to play football for your team and you’re going to try to play the best that you can play.’ And that’s what I continue to try to do.”
Rutgers (3-5, 2-2 Big East) had a bye this weekend and will host Syracuse (2-6, 1-3) on Saturday at noon (ESPNU).
“You always like to keep playing, but bye weeks are always at a good time when they come,” Teel said.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.