It was just yesterday that yours truly took notice of the impressive 2011 recruiting class Mike Rice has assembled at Rutgers. In just a few months of recruiting, Rice landed five prospects, all of which are three- and four-star players and all of which will play major roles in the rebuilding effort currently under way in Newark New Brunswick, N.J.
Wednesday's post also made brief mention of St. John's. I knew new coach Steve Lavin had assembled a solid class, but I said Rice was outpacing the Johnnies in recruiting. Why? I don't know. Because I don't know that much about recruiting, I guess.
You know who does? The ESPNU guys. Conveniently enough, their recent 2011 class rankings can shed some light on this distinction. As a matter of fact, the St. John's class is ranked above Rutgers. So, yeah, I was a little bit wrong yesterday. I'm betting it won't be the last time, either.
Still, the most important bit of info isn't whose class is ranked higher. It's where both schools are. For what has to be the first time in years, both programs' future recruiting classes are safely ensconced in the top 15. No, not top 50. Top 15. St. John's is ranked No. 12 overall. Rutgers is ranked No. 15. What's more, the programs are ranked No. 4 and No. 5 in the Big East, with only Syracuse, Louisville, and Villanova sitting above them. Both programs feature incoming talent at the top, and though Rice's class is currently deeper, Lavin has the opportunity to boost his school's ranking with a few more commitments in the coming months.
More than anything, though, the two programs' progress is startling. Most new coaches spend years trying to find their first recruiting breakthroughs. Lavin and Rice engineered their own in one offseason. Other coaches ought to doff their caps. And then, you know, run for cover. It's funny to say, but both the Red Storm and Scarlet Knights are starting to look a little scary.