Dear Coach Schiano,
Thank you. Now that the initial shock and knee-jerk reactions over your decision to take the head coach position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has given way to rational thought, it is time to reflect and thank you for all you’ve done for Rutgers. Your leaving is saddening, but in a selfish way. Saddening because the job seems unfinished. Though you didn’t get us over the hump to a conference championship and BCS bowl game, it is because of you that we can actually have those realistic aspirations to begin with. Your vision, your belief in the University and the players in the State of Rutgers has led us to national respectability and a 5-1 bowl record.
Additionally you’ve accomplished this while maintaining the highest standards of personal ethics; not only for yourself but for your coaches and players as well. Your players didn’t just survive the academic rigors at Rutgers University, they excelled in them. From Draddy Award nominees to the nation’s best APR ranking, you’ve shown that the young men you’ve recruited to represent this school are of the highest caliber on the field and in the classroom. You’ve proven that Rutgers is indeed a path to the NFL, and absolutely a path to a great education for a student athlete. Through your tenure even cynical New Jerseyans have embraced your creation. You can’t drive anywhere in the tri-state area without seeing the Block R everywhere. You’ve provided a source of pride for the state, and something other than The Sopranos and Jersey Shore for people to associate with us. That in and of itself is a great accomplishment.
Outstanding linebacker and Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year Khaseem Greene used the word “bittersweet” when asked how he felt today. That’s appropriate, because while I wish you much success (except when playing against my Raiders), I hate to see you go. So thank you Coach, for leaving us better than you found us, and laying the foundation for great things to come. Good luck as you Keep Choppin through this next challenge.
Francis Kicking Butt At East/West Shrine Practices
The lone defensive end standout has been Rutgers’ Justin Francis (6-2/270). Other than being the West’s most vocal defender, Francis slashes in from the edge and has consistently beaten offensive tackles to the spot. Francis finds contact through his hands, but too often guesses on plays, allowing cutback lanes to open after he gets upfield. Francis has a Charles Johnson frame, so leverage is not an issue. He just needs to focus.
Desmond Wynn Impresses at East/West Shrine Practice
Projected Round: 5th-7th
OG Desmond Wynn (6’5”, 305), Rutgers: Wynn has been rising up some draft boards with a strong senior season. He’s got a good frame and shows really good base and quickness. Consistency seems to be his biggest problem, but his draft stock is rising. He looks like the type of player that a team will look to develop given his raw tools. (note: he is worth drafting just to make my caption for the picture come true)
Sanu’s Value Climbing
In his first mock draft , ESPN expert Mel Kiper Jr. has Sanu going No. 26 to the Houston Texans. Kiper also has Sanu rated as the No. 4 receiver available in the draft. Kiper says this of Sanu in his mock draft write-up:
Sanu is the type of guy who can stretch the field and be a huge threat across from (Andre) Johnson. And when you consider that Johnson will be 31 entering the 2012 season, the Texans need this kind of presence around if he misses any more time. Sanu is hugely productive, creates space, has good speed and can contribute early.
Since 2000, the only year the Big East did not have a first-round pick in the NFL draft was 2006. This class does not seem particularly strong. If you look at the top 5 players Kiper ranked at each position, the Big East only has two — Sanu and West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin, rated as an outside linebacker.