Breaking Down the 2013 Class
Feb 5, 2013
By: SOR Staff
Photos Courtesy Of ScarletKnights.com
Anthony Cioffi – DB, 6’0”, 175lbs, 4.4 forty, Dayton High School, Springfield, NJ
How did he get to Rutgers?: Coming out of small Group I high school in Springfield, New Jersey, Cioffi doesn’t fit the mold of your typical Rutgers recruit. However, the versatile athlete drew interest from Rutgers and several other top programs with his explosive speed. Cioffi boasts a 4.4 second 40-yard-dash and showed his speed on both sides of the ball for Jonathan Dayton, leading the offense at quarterback and spearheading the defense in the secondary. Cioffi was the very first commit of the 2013 class and helped lure several other top recruits to Rutgers.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program?: Cioffi mostly played at safety when he was in on defense in high school, but his frame and speed will lead him to the cornerback position for Rutgers. Rutgers has their top two cornerback positions to fill and Cioffi could absolutely see significant playing time in his freshman year. He is also an adept special teams player and figures to get return reps in practice. In time, he could factor into both kick returns and punt returns.
The Bottom line: Some schools were slow to pick up on Cioffi, but the Scarlet Knights recognized his potential very early on in the process. Cioffi has the explosiveness and the football IQ to be a contributor right off the bat.
T.J. Taylor – Ath, 6’3”, 190lbs, 4.67 forty, South Brunswick High School, South Brunswick, NJ
How did he get to Rutgers?: Taylor burst on to the recruiting map in his junior season where he showed that he has real Division I potential on both sides of the football. As a wideout, Taylor hauled in 17 catches for 525 yards and seven touchdowns while racking up 54 tackles at safety. He followed that up with 33 catches for 610 yards and 48 tackles and three picks in his senior season. Schoosl were slow to pick up on Taylor’s talent but the Scarlet Knights got in on him early and beat out the likes of Temple, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Old Dominion for his services.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program?: That’s the million dollar question for Taylor, who poses a good problem for the Scarlet Knights coaching staff. At 6’3”, 186 pounds, Taylor can be an impact receiver with the ability to outmuscle and out jump the coverage for the ball. At the same time he has the size and agility to be one heck of a cover corner. Taylor is definitely one to watch in camp to see where he ends up on the depth chart.
The bottom line: Taylor fits the “diamond in the rough” narrative that is pervasive throughout this recruiting class. He may not have seemed like a game-changer when Rutgers secured his commitment over the summer, but it’s clear now that he’ll have an impact at the next level.
Justin Goodwin – Ath, 5’11”, 180lbs, 4.5 forty, Madison High School, Madison, NJ
How did he get to Rutgers?: Goodwin comes from Madison, New Jersey, just a short drive from Anthony Cioffi in Springfield. Goodwin, like Cioffi, was among the early recruits in RU’s 2013 class and the early decision allowed him to concentrate fully on his senior season. The athlete led his Dodgers to their third straight state championship this past year while racking up some very gaudy stats. Goodwin ran for 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns off of 135 carries while catching 12 passes for 439 yards and six touchdowns. The senior also housed two kickoff returns for touchdowns.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program?: Goodwin told StateOfRutgers.com that he isn’t sure what position he’ll be playing yet and is waiting to hear from the coaches. He certainly showed that he can be a factor in the running game while he also shined at cornerback and safety for Madison.
The bottom line: Goodwin shows promise on both sides of the ball, but in a crowded recruiting class it remains to be seen if he’ll see the field in his first season.
Myles Nash – LB, 6’4”, 200lbs, 4.68 forty, Timber Creek Regional High School, Sicklerville, NJ
How did he get to Rutgers?: Rutgers fans have been familiar with Myles Nash for quite some time. The Timber Creek standout was chased by a host of top schools, including Boston College, Clemson, Kentucky, Purdue, Temple, Virginia, and West Virginia. The 6’4” athlete has been on everyone’s radar for quite some time and the Scarlet Knights are anxious to see what he can do on Saturdays.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program?: Nash did it all in high school, starring at quarterback and defensive end. However, there’s little doubt that he’ll be playing linebacker for the Scarlet Knights thanks to his speed and overall tackling ability.
The bottom line: Nash figures to be a key part of the RU defense right out of the gate.
Dorian Miller – OL, 6’2”-290lbs, Metuchen High School, Metuchen, NJ
How did he get to Rutgers?: Rutgers was in a long line of schools hoping to land Miller, including Boston College, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Virginia, and many more. Miller was taken with Rutgers very early on but it wasn’t until the move to the Big Ten that Miller gave his commitment. Miller probably would have still landed in New Brunswick even if they had stayed in the Big East, but the conference change locked everything up this fall.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program?: At 6-foot-2, 295 pounds, there’s no doubt that Miller’s place on the offensive line is at guard.
The bottom line: Miller boasts a maximum bench press of 390 pounds and also has improved his athleticism to pull defensive lineman to help hold up the pocket. After a redshirt year, we’ll see plenty of Miller in 2014.
Nadir Barnwell – DB, 5’10”-180lbs, 4.5 forty, Piscataway High School, Piscataway, NJ
How did he get to Rutgers?: Barnwell’s recruitment to Rutgers goes all the way back to his freshman year, when RU became the very first school to offer him. The Piscataway star would receive many more top offers from that point, including Georgia, Florida, Notre Dame, Penn State, South Carolina, and UCLA. Ultimately, Barnwell’s affinity for Rutgers and his desire to stay close to home won out.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program?: Barnwell’s first time on the field at Rutgers was in 2009, when he entered the game as a quarterback for Piscataway. While he has a decent arm, there’s no question that he’ll be inserted at cornerback. There’s a lot of depth in the Rutgers secondary, but look for Barnwell to make a strong case to start.
The bottom line: Rutgers is extremely happy with their 2013 class and the heralded Barnwell could be the premier catch of the bunch.
Chris Laviano – QB, 6’1”-200lbs, 5.0 forty, Holy Trinity High School, Hicksville, NY
How did he get to Rutgers?: Laviano has been a known quantity since his freshman year of high school football. The New York quarterback had a choice to make between Rutgers and Boston College and chose to remain in the tri-state area.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program?: Great question.. Laviano will enter a crowded group at quarterback which includes Gary Nova, backup Chas Dodd, Blake Rankin, and redshirt freshman Mike Bimonte.
The bottom line: Laviano will have to wait a bit to crack through, but once he gets his chance, Rutgers is confident that he’ll be a quality signal caller.
Kemoko Turay- DE, 6’5”-210lbs, 4.7, Barringer High School, Newark , NJ
How did he get to Rutgers? Kemoko is a recruit that would make a lot of fans question why Head Coach Flood would offer a young, inexperienced, player a chance, but once you view film on him, those doubts disappear. Rutgers discovered Turay at their camp last summer. Turay displayed athletic ability that left the Rutgers staff impressed. Rutgers understood Turay hasn’t played football since his freshman year, but he displayed enough talent, work ethic and size to warrant an offer. Turay has made Rutgers’ offer look like a steal as he finished his senior season with 19 sacks, 107 tackles, 4 caused fumbles and 5 fumble recoveries.
How does he fit into the Rutgers program? Turay may be the most gifted recruit in the 2013 class. His unbelievable athletic skills complement a high motor and body structure (6’5 210) that will grow into an outstanding college defensive end. Turay has shown growth and development over the course of his senior season. His background in basketball and track and field should pay dividends once he combines his passion to learn with the weight room and good coaching. It should create a quality, Big 10, defensive end in three years.
The Bottom line: Turay has a skill set and desire that is unmatched. Those traits fit the “Rutgers” type player who should flourish on the banks. Had Turay played football his sophomore and junior year, he would have been one of the top 15 players in the state of New Jersey this past season. The upside with Turay is probably greater than any other incoming member of the 2013 recruiting class.
Eric Wiafe – DL, 6’5”-258lbs, 4.7 forty, Egg Harbor Township High School, Egg Harbor, NJ
How did he get to Rutgers? Wiafe is one of the more physically imposing recruits in the 2013 class. Wiafe made the rounds on the summer camps circuit and left the Rutgers Big Man Academy (BMA) just as impressed with Rutgers as they were with him. Wiafe’s performance against some of the area’s best big men was enough to convince Rutgers that he was worthy of an offer. Wiafe will join one of his former high school teammate, Tejay Johnson, at Rutgers.
How does he fit into the Rutgers program? In high school, Wiafe played DE, but at Rutgers, he will probably move inside to DT. Wiafe’s physique means he’ll spend less time reshaping his body versus other incoming freshmen. That puts Wiafe in position to focus on the mental aspect of the game. If there’s one Rutgers player who reminds me of Wiafe, it’s Julian Pinnix-Odrick. Both have similar physiques and skills. Wiafe, like Pinnix-Odrick, has the ability to play DE as well as DT. Wiafe is a guy who’s likely to fill out around 285 pounds, but has the ability to play like a 300-pound lineman.
The Bottom line: Wiafe has a quick first step that allows him to gain the upper hand against his opponent and make plays. What really helps Wiafe is his stance, which is low to the ground. It’s amazing that such a big man can get so low in a stance and explode out of it. Wiafe just looks fluid when making plays, which is difficult to accomplish for big men in high school. He looks the part of a seasoned player, but will likely be a red-shirt next season.
Taylor Marini – TE, 6’4”- 230lbs, Lake Mary High School, Lake Mary, FL
How did he get to Rutgers? Rutgers has been after Marini for some time, but what gave Rutgers the edge over schools such as Louisville and USF was the fact that Rutgers has Coach Darnell Dinkins. Dinkins’ experience as a coach and player in the professional ranks played a factor in Marini’s decision. Also, Rutgers is very thin at the TE position. Having lost starter DC Jefferson (graduated), and a few transfers, left the TE position in need of immediate help.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program? Marini is a player that Rutgers fans will love in a few years because of his soft hands and body control when making a catch over the middle or down the seams against opponents. Marini brings a consistent, pass-catching threat at TE, something that’s been missing since Clark Harris played, although his high school team didn’t take advantage of his skill until his senior season. Marini is an average run blocker, but his ability to run routes from here to daylight is what is really needed in Rutgers’ passing game now.
The Bottom line: Marini has good size for a freshman TE (6’4, 230) and it puts him in a position to compete for a spot as a backup TE consider the position is thin. Marini, like current Rutgers TE Tyler Kroft, gives Rutgers another big TE who can find the seams in the defense to be an easy target for the quarterback.
Nick Arcidiacono – TE, 6’4”-230lbs, Archbishop Wood Catholic High School, Warminster, PA
How did he get to Rutgers? Similar to Marini, Arcidiacono helps to fill that gap at TE. Still Arcidiacono gives Rutgers’ flexibility at other positions because he can fill other Rutgers needs like linebacker or Defensive End. Arcidiacono will join his brother Brandon at Rutgers.
How does he fit into the Rutgers program? Arcidiacono has the skills to play more than one position (TE, LB, DE, OC, & OG) and that may surprise a lot of people. Several schools recruited Arcidiacono as an athlete, which is an indication of the player Rutgers’ landed. Most Rutgers’ fans will be pleasantly surprised to know that Arcidiacono has solid hands, which is one reason why he is likely to start out playing TE. It’s easy to assume Arcidiacono played other bruising positions as he lacks the finer points of an important skill position like TE, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. He may not run routes like Marini, but he is a capable TE.
The Bottom line: Arcidiacono’s strength is in his ability to understand the game because he has played several positions. Add the toughness from the other positions with his TE skills and you have the making of a typical Pennsylvania recruit built for the rugged play of big-time football. In a few years, when Rutgers enters Big Ten play, the could have three, solid, pass-catching TE’s in Arcidiacono, Marini, and Kroft. The one main difference in Arcidiacono and the others is Arcidiacono is a better and more polished blocker due to his experience along the offensive line.
– DB, 6’1”-185lbs, 4.3 forty, American Heritage High School, Plantation, FL
How did he get to Rutgers? Recruiters like to call Gross an under-the-radar recruit, but a better term would be underappreciated due to the fact that egos sometime get in the way. Gross still managed to attain 15 offers from schools like LSU and Purdue, go figure. In the end his decision to attend Rutgers had a lot to do with Rutgers’ academic reputation along with Rutgers losing 6 defensive backs.
How does he fit into the Rutgers program? Gross is a physical safety who is at his best coming downhill to deliver hard hits. SS is probably the best position for Gross due to his skill set, but it’s not out of the question to see Gross get a shot at cornerback or free safety. He does possess great closing speed. Even though Gross hasn’t played CB often, he’s similar to Brandon Jones in size and closing ability to make plays.
The Bottom line: Gross has shown a knack for allowing few offensive threats to get passed him. He could end up being one of the few Rutgers defensive backs that switch back between CB and safety depending on the situation. Gross is a player who in about two years could be fighting for a lot of playing time and maybe even a starting spot.
Devan Carter - RB/LB, 6’2”-230lbs, 4.5 forty, Brighton High School. Rochester, NY
How did he get to Rutgers? The current turmoil at Syracuse is a case of déjà vu. In 2005, former Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson left the program opening the door for a few Syracuse recruits to re-evaluate the recruiting landscape. Rutgers was able to convince Courtney Greene and Ray Rice that Rutgers had more to offer. The rest is history. Fast forward to 2013 and the scenario seems to be playing out again in favor of Rutgers. Rutgers was able to get Carter on campus for an official visit to show what the school and the program had to offer. It was enough for Carter who may have a chance to play RB or LB at Rutgers.
How does he fit into the Rutgers program? Carter flashed some serious moves at running back and has the making of being a solid addition to a one-two punch in the backfield. Carter lacks ideal blazing speed, but makes up for it by making the first defender miss and punishing the next one. Carter has the size of a Fullback, but nothing about him demands he play the position as he has been timed at 4.5 in the 40 yard dash. It’s possible Carter could end up on the defensive side of the ball at LB. Carter has shown the physical and mental ability to contribute to that side of the ball.
The Bottom line: Carter is likely to get a shot at RB when he arrives at Rutgers, but something about him screams big-time LB. His freakish athletic ability and physical toughness is better suited for the defensive side of the ball. Even though he hasn’t played a lot at LB, he has skills that can’t be taught and they translate well to that side of the ball. If Carter was to stay on the offensive side of the ball, he would be definitely be the thunder to the RB’s lightning. Rutgers has never had a player
with his size, skills, and freakish ability running the ball.
Delon Stephenson – DB, 5’11”-190lbs, Sayreville High School (Milfred Academy) Sayreville, NJ
How did he get to Rutgers?: Originally a part of the 2012 recruiting class, Stephenson spent the fall prepping at Milford Academy where he shined on defense as he accounted for 33 solo tackles, 14 assisted tackles and 6 pass breakups. Against Army’s Junior Varsity, he amassed 12 tackles with 2 for a loss and 1 pass breakup which was enough for him to be named defensive player of the game. In high school, he led Sayreville (NJ) to consecutive Central Jersey Group IV state championships. He was a standout on both offense and defense as he accounted for 3,532 yards rushing and receiving with 52 touchdowns to go along with 15 interceptions. At Rutgers, he will join his Brother, Daryl, and former teammate David Milewski.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program?: Stephenson has enrolled for the spring semester where he will start his Rutgers career at cornerback. The loss of Brandon Jones, Marcus Cooper and Logan Ryan to the NFL leaves both cornerback spots vacated allowing Stephenson to immediately compete where his heaviest competition will likely come from Johnathan Aiken, Gareef Glashen, and Tejay Johnson. If necessary, he can easily move over to one of the safety position which happens to be where he feels more comfortable. He will also compete for playing time at kick and punt returner with vacancies at all of the positions.
The Bottom line: Although modestly recruited out of high school, Stephenson has the toolset to contribute immediately at a variety of positions. If he does not win one of the starting defensive back positions, he will contribute on special teams.
John Tsimis – WR, 6’0”-175lbs, Bergen Catholic, Oradell, NJ
How did he get to Rutgers? Before his senior season at Bergen Catholic, Tsimis tore his ACL and meniscus in his left knee resulting in him missing his entire senior season as he went through rehabilitation. He is reportedly ahead of schedule and has already started running and lifting. As a junior, he was one the more productive wide receivers in the Garden State. He caught 50 passes for 756 yards and 11 touchdowns. Against top rated Don Bosco who has a secondary filled with All-Americans, Tsimis absolutely torched the unit for 159 yards receiving off 10 catches and two touchdowns. He was named 1st All-State Non-public by the Star-Ledger and MSGSports All-Metro 1st team.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program? Wide receiver is one of the deepest units on the Rutgers squad with players such as Brandon Coleman, Jeremy Deering (could be at safety), Mile Shuler and Quron Pratt returning along with a number of freshmen. Since he will not be needed to play early, he will be given some time to fully recover and acclimate to the program.
Bottom line: Similar to many young players, he will likely have to find playing time on special teams before making his way into the mainstream offense.
Josh Klecko – DL, 6’2”-260lbs, Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank, NJ
How did he get to Rutgers? The son of former Jets All-Pro defensive lineman Joe Klecko and the younger brother of former NFL player Dan Klecko. Josh was a three-year starter for New Jersey Shore powerhouse Red Bank Catholic. As a starter, the team amassed a 28-5 record. As a senior, he registered 47 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 2 caused fumbles and 1 interception. Named All-Shore Defensive Player of the Year.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program? The depth at defensive tackle will allow Klecko to redshirt and gain the necessary strength and experience needed to play major college football. His technique along with the tutorage of his father will be a great asset that will be an advantage over some of the players at his position.
Bottom line: A team could not have enough good defensive linemen. Although it will likely take Klecko a year or so to gain the necessary strength and weight, Klecko’s technique and work ethic will enable him to compete for playing time.
Sebastian Joseph – DL, 6’4”, 270lbs, Stroudsburg High School, Stroudsburg, PA
How did he get to Rutgers? After an impressive performance in the Rutgers Big Man’s Academy, Joseph was awarded an offer from the Rutgers coaching staff. He wasted no time in committing. As a junior, he led Stroudsburg High School to the MVC championship as he recorded 25 tackles and six sacks. As a senior, he registered 40 tackles, 3 sacks and forced 2 fumbles. Named All-MVC and All-Area.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program? Joseph has the ability to play either end or tackle. He will likely grow into a 3-technique defensive tackle where he can utilize his athleticism. Since the position is deep, it will be a fierce battle for playing time.
Bottom Line: Joseph is a raw talent who due to the depth at defensive tackle will be given the opportunity to develop and regularly contribute as a redshirt sophomore.
- DL, 6’3, 225lbs, University School, Fort Lauderdale, FL
How did he get to Rutgers? Internicola help led his University school team to a 13-0 record, #24 nationally ranked by MaxPreps and a Class 3A state championship. He recorded 66 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 caused fumble. Named to the 1st team Class 3A All-State and ALL-BROWARD.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program? The Rutgers defense needs a pass rusher who can beat an offensive tackle one on one. At 6-foot-3, 230-pounds , Internola will be one of the biggest defensive ends on the team once he arrives on campus. His ability to rush the passer will allow him to see the field early. He will need to increase his strength and get acclimated before he could start to claim some playing time.
Bottom line: Rutgers’ need for a pass rusher will give him a chance to compete for playing time.
Lester Liston – LB, 6’1”, 225lbs, Hargrave Military Academy, Chatham, VA
How did he get to Rutgers? Initially committed to Cincinnati before spending last fall at Hargrave Military Academy where he tallied 42 tackles but didn’t play 2 games due to a knee injury. As a high school senior, he accounted for 98 tackles and added 699 yards rushing and nine touchdowns as a running back. As a junior, Liston had 87 tackles and two interceptions, earning KLAA all-conference honors.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program? Linton enrolled into Rutgers in January and will have the opportunity to compete at the middle linebacker spot vacated by the graduation of Steve Beauharnais. He will find shift competition from highly touted freshman Quanzell Lambert.
Bottom line: Since he will one of two linebackers with a legitimate shot at the starting linebacker position, Liston will see playing time next season.
Dontea Ayres – RB, 5’8”, 205, Middletown High School, Middletown, DE
How did he get to Rutgers? In order to enroll into Rutgers in January, Ayres transferred from Wicomico High School (MD) to Middletown High School (DE). A knee injury sidelined him for the season. As a junior, he rushed for 1,471 yards and 26 touchdowns along with catching 13 passes for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns. Claimed a bench press of 455lbs and squat of 655 lbs. and deadlift of 605 lbs.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program? The loss of Jawan Jamison will give Ayres the chance to compete for the backup running back position – assuming he is healthy. Although short in stator, his physical styles of play coupled with his strength could made him ideal for short yardage.
Bottom line: Ayres is a game control back with great physical strength. In order to get more speed on the field, Ayres could line up at fullback.
Janarion Grant – Ath, 5’9”-170lbs, Pasco High School, Lacoochee, FL
How did he get to Rutgers? After suffering a broken hand which sidelined him for 6 games, he still amassed 20 touchdowns in 7 games from five different positions. His combined record as a junior and senior was 25-2 record; make the 5A state final four in 2011, and a region finalist this past season. Named to the Tribune’s All-Pasco First Team Offense.
How could he fit into the Rutgers program? Grant will initially play slot receiver. However, he has the ability to play RB, CB, KR and PR. His fastest way to the field will be special teams. As a result, he will have an opportunity to compete for the punt and kick returner positions.
Bottom line: Grant is an explosive player who will be provided with an opportunity to contribute immediately on special teams.