Rutgers' Mark Harrison thinks the Scarlet Knights' new jerseys are a recruiting tool (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
it's a dead period for Pitt sports - I get that. Still, I think I would have found time to comment on the sheer lunacy of this:
Can new Nike football uniforms help impact recruiting at Rutgers?
Head coach Kyle Flood and the players believe they can.
“I think it will be easy for recruits to recognize us,” Rutgers senior defensive tackle Scott Vallone told SNY.tv at the SNY studios when the uniforms were unveiled. “It will be a distinct look that incorporates a Scarlet Knight and battle ‘scars.’ I think it will be something that people will be able to identify us with and that will be a very positive thing for recruiting.”
That quote wasn't so bad, but this one?
“These are the little things that a lot of teams look forward to and a lot of teams don’t have and I feel privileged,” Harrison said. “And it’s going to help our recruiting process for the years to come up. When they see these uniforms they’re going to look at, ‘Oh, I want to be a Knight.’ I feel great about it and I feel like it’s a great opportunity to showcase our talent and get out there put Rutgers on the map.”
That sound you hear is crickets chirping.
That's right - because a kid is going to look at these jerseys and say, 'That's it - Rutgers is it for me.'
In case you missed it, these are the combat jerseys that Nike has been pushing. Pitt had a go-round with them recently, if you don't remember - though they were only worn for one game. Flood, predictably, had a much more nondescript quote. But I'm astounded that Mark Harrison thinks that jerseys could actually help the school recruit better.
Could a few recruits think that the jerseys are appealing? Absolutely. I'm not a fan and I prefer a steady look (i.e. Penn State, Notre Dame, etc.) than changing jerseys every few years. But they're not made for someone like me - they're made for 18 year-olds who want something flashy and new. I think SB Nation's Rutgers blog, On the Banks, is pretty accurate with this:
This isn't a jersey for your great grandchildren; it's one for your little brother that grew up on Halo and Red Bull.
All of that said, I still have a hard time believing that some kid is going to commit to Rutgers because he thinks the jerseys are cool. Maybe I'm out of touch, but I don't think it's any more than a fringe benefit - and a minor one at that. So many factors play into a decision such as location, tradition, playing time, the coaches, etc. I just don't think a jersey is very high up on the totem pole when it comes to those other things. The jersey may be the icing on the cake, but it's hardly a recruiting tool in my opinion.
In the end, jerseys aren't going to help you recruit - winning will.