NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - You're a four-star recruit with a bunch of schools - including Rutgers - trying to attract you to their football program. Imagine if the phone rang and Eric LeGrand was on the other end, extolling the virtues of Scarlet Knights football?
The former linebacker-turned-radio broadcaster has become one of the football team's most visible alums, greatest ambassadors and loudest supporters for recently returned coach Greg Schiano.
LeGrand, or "E" as Schiano often calls him, seemed excited at the possibility he could help Schiano lure big-time talent to the Banks fo the Old Raritan.
"We haven’t done it yet, but we’ll see I guess in the future if once he gets all settled in there if we could get something like that to happen," LeGrand said. "But, it hasn’t happened yet."
LeGrand made the comment last week at Abraham Clark High School, where he spoke to the students about his story of perseverance. LeGrand fractured his C3 and C4 vertebrae in a collision during a 2010 game against Army.
He has remained close with Schiano - even though the coach left Rutgers to pursue coaching jobs in the NFL (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and, briefly, the New England Patriots) and a Big Ten behemoth (Ohio State).
LeGrand voiced his disappointment a few weeks ago when it appeared that contract negotiations between Rutgers and Schiano had broken down. He was there, however, when Schiano arrived at the Hale Center for his re-introductory press conference. In fact, when LeGrand met Schiano in the hallway, cameras captured the coach planting a kiss on his former player's forehead.
Under coaches Chris Ash (1-3) and Nunzio Campanile (1-7) struggled through a dreadful season in 2019 that included a 52-0 loss to Ohio State.
Schiano has hit the ground running, adding Temple secondary coach Fran Brown to his new staff.
That helped him secure a commitment from former Temple recruit Chris Long (Willingboro, N.J.). Schiano also added Blair Academy defensive end Victor Konopka.
LeGrand expects the Scarlet Knights to return to respectability in 2020.
"I truly believe that this next season, especially if you look at the schedule, beside those Big Ten, when you have to play those big powerhouses, it’s not all that daunting," he said. "I believe they will start earning respect right away. He’s got Monmouth, Temple, Syracuse, Illinois, Purdue, Maryland – those are teams that you can compete with and battle with. That’s why I say, once he gets those coaches in there and I know how tough those practices are, the attention to detail he demands – as soon as those players get used to that coach there, they’re going to be competitive."