Big East Blitz: Rutgers knows Florida

There are plenty of Floridians to go around and Rutgers knows it.
Rutgers has made the Sunshine State a top priority. Since 2002, Rutgers has signed 24 Floridians and it has three already committed for the class of 2006 with 20 more uncommitted Florida prospects holding offers from the Scarlet Knights.
Tuesday Rutgers added its eighth overall commitment when Florida prospect Pat Nemorin committed.
Wide receiver Keith Houston, defensive end Luis Pena, linebackers Sorie Bayoh and Antonio Lowery along defensive backs Bryan Wright and Shannon Ballard. All but one of the above prospects is from the city of Miami, which is becoming a hot spot for the Knights' recruiting efforts.
Four-star prospects Brandon Heath and Kenrick Ellis have also kept Rutgers on their list despite several other offers in hand.
Much of the success has to be attributed to assistant Darren Rizzi and head coach Greg Schiano. Schiano's time as the defensive coordinator with the Miami Hurricanes has obviously shown him how important the state of Florida is to team success.
Rutgers has also produced great selling points for Florida prospects. They've become a home away from home for prospects like receiver commit Burnon Anderson.
"Other than Miami, they have showed the most interest and have always made me feel like a part of their family," Anderson said. "It's like I have been friends with them my whole life."
Playing time is also something that Rutgers has been able to sell over in-state colleges with very deep rosters. The region in and around campus continues to be top priority, but Florida is a close second for the Big East school.
Syracuse close to commitment?
Over a month ago, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha defensive tackle Reggie Gibson was considered a near lock for Virginia Tech. Things have now dramatically shifted in favor of the Orange.
The 6-foot-2, 285-pound prospect knows exactly where he wants to go after a trip to the Carrier Dome early this season.
"I'm pretty close and I think I'm going to [commit to] Syracuse soon," Gibson said. "I went to the Syracuse-Buffalo game. I got to see how campus life is up there and I just like the school."
Not only has Syracuse turned up the attention but it appears that Virginia Tech has turned theirs down. Gibson has stated that he has not heard from the Hokies as of late and they have not returned any calls.
With those factors in place, it looks like only a matter of time before the 'Cuse add their 10th commitment on the year.
Florida defensive tackle leaning towards Pitt
One visit to Heinz Field and Davie (Fla.) Western defensive tackle Jared Martin remains clear about favoring the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Though the 6-foot-2, 285-pound defender was scheduled to visit Minnesota weeks after his Panther official, a scheduling conflict has pushed that back. Both the Gophers and Arizona State are possible for his next trips, but he is still high on the Big East team.
"The Panthers are still my leader and I'm still very high on Pittsubrgh," Martin said. "I just want to compare Pittsburgh to another school. I see big opportunity at Pitt. They are rebuilding on both sides of the line and I could get some early playing time there."
Though a 2-4 season is not the start that coach Dave Wannstedt was looking for, it appears that uncommitted and committed prospects alike are both chomping at the bit to come in and make an early impact.
Mountaineers a dark horse for Fayson?
It has seemed like an in-state from day one for Rivals100 athlete Jarred Fayson but it appears that the 6-foot, 184-pound No. 73 rated prospect in the country is keeping things open. That has West Virginia back in to his top five.
Many believe that it will take a miracle to keep the Florida Gators or Miami Hurricanes from gaining his signature, but apparently the offense that WVU runs has opened the door for his interest.
"They run the spread offense and I like that," Fayson said. "I think I can show off all my tools in that type of offense."
The first weekend in December looks like the tentative date for a trip to Morgantown. Another interesting note is that West Virginia is one of three schools, along with Miami and Florida, that are looking at him for the quarterback spot. However, Fayson has no problems playing either that or wide receiver on the next level.
A great visit to West Virginia could go a long way with the four-star prospect.
Big East teams battle for Gnat
Louisville has been a long-time leader for three-star defensive end Rodney Gnat but with the way the season for South Florida is going, it appears with an offer the Bulls could definitely be a huge factor.
While Central Florida has been the main in-state competition for USF, it appears that Gnat is interested in taking a Tampa trip. In fact, when the Florida defensive lineman saw USF put a big win together against UCF, it definitely opened his eyes.
"I thought UCF would have been above them, but they handed it to them and I was really surprised when they beat Louisville," Gnat said. "They're an up and coming program that I think could be in the Top 25 in two or three years."
Gnat has his Louisville visit set for Nov. 12, but it looks like the Bulls are in the running along with Minnesota and Indiana for the others.
If a USF offer comes, things could get interesting for both Big East teams.
Two-star safety Robert Vaughn is set to take in a Connecticut game twice in the coming months with an unofficial on Nov. 26 and an official visit set for Dec. 3. Livingston (N.J) offensive guard Mike Weich is another expected visitor for one of the remaining home games on the UConn schedule.
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