Rutgers NCAA qualifier Brian Soldano (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
On Thursday evening, Rutgers received a commitment from two-time Pennsylvania state champion Conner Harer (Montgomery HS). Currently, Harer is ranked fourth in the nation at 150 lbs by MatScouts and #11 overall on the Class of 2024 Big Board.
Getting a recruit of Harer’s caliber is a big deal for most programs. Rutgers is no exception. Harer’s commitment means even more as Rutgers' best recruits tend to come from in-state. The Scarlet Knights have picked up recruits from Pennsylvania, but they are either from close to the border or not on Harer’s level. Harer is more from Central Pennsylvania. Opening the door to high-level recruits from further out in Pennsylvania could only benefit Rutgers, most would assume.
With Harer’s commitment, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to review Rutgers’ history with blue-chip recruits during head coach Scott Goodale’s tenure. Goodale was hired in the summer of 2007 and has built Rutgers into a relevant national power, finishing as high as ninth in the nation during the 2018-19 season. Most of the school’s record book has been written and rewritten during his tenure.
Goodale started his time at Rutgers with a bang by keeping some very notable names in-state. With a move to the Big Ten and sustained success on the mat, those blue-chip recruits have been more of a regular occurrence for the Scarlet Knights.
For purposes of this article, we’ll refer to blue-chip recruits as those who are top-20 in their high school class. In some years that distinction may be too generous, while in other rare seasons, it’s not enough. However, it’s a good line of demarcation for this look.
Wrestlers are noted under their year of high school, along with their ranking among their high school class and home state.
#12 Brian Soldano (New Jersey)
Soldano just finished up his first season with the Scarlet Knights. As a true freshman, Soldano stepped into a tough 184 lb weight class and took sixth in the Big Ten and won a pair of matches at nationals. He proved to be one of the most entertaining wrestlers in the country. Never out of a match, Soldano can go from his back to pinning an opponent (and occasionally vice versa) like no other wrestler in the country. He should be an All-American threat for his remaining three years.
#10 Dean Peterson (New Jersey)
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