Rutgers offensive tackle commit Raiqwon O’Neal earns offer from the Florida Gators

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Some in college football recruiting circles say that recruiting doesn’t truly start until a player is committed somewhere. Some view the first interest or offer at the start, but coaches are forced to earn their keep once adding a player into the fold, and keeping him there, away from other schools, looking to poach down the line.

Late last night, Rutgers three-star offensive tackle commit Raiqwon O’Neal revealed via a tweet that he had received an offer from the Florida Gators. It’s good for a program like Rutgers when its commit receive high-caliber offers because it validates its ability to identify talent. However, on the flip side, offers such as these could be viewed as a strong opportunities for already-committed recruits.

This is usually the time of year when these offers go out, especially to commits of programs which are struggling. We are less than four months from national signing day, and programs start working on back-up plans at positions that haven’t been filled, and that staffs don’t have confidence in filling via the offers already extended.

O’Neal to RU: ‘I just feel like I’m coming home’

And there are a number of recruits among Rutgers’ 19 committed players who could see additional Power 5 offers start to trickle in — guys like Zihir Lacewell, Amad Anderson, Isaih Pacheco, as well as underrated guys like Matthew Thomas, to name a few.

Despite the staff putting together a strong class, the real work begins now. For most recruits, keeping them in the fold will happen organically, as long as the program can show up and compete with pride against the remaining teams on the schedule. For others, it may take a bit more.

And it will be interesting to see just how much of the class can be held in tact, if not all of it, as Coach Ash and company sprint to the finish line of Feb. 7, 2018.

The 6-5, 270-pound Conway (S.C.) standout has the quickness, technique and anticipation to develop into a left tackle, but will likely require a red-shirt year to refine certain elements of his technique, and most importantly, add the functional mass that’ll allow him to more definitely finish plays. But he’s a guy who could be a three-year starter due to his advanced technique at this stage.

Ultimately, he’s a big athlete who can really run and coaches find ways to get guys like this on the field. He also displays a strong love for the game, projecting the type of attitude of a player coaches like to coach. His addition to Reginald Sutton would give Rutgers two athletic, technical  tackle types with the footwork to stay in front of defenders and keep quarterbacks clean.

O’Neal’s affinity for Rutgers and its graphic design program give Rutgers a great chance of holding on, not to mention that there is likely more of an opportunity to contribute on the banks.

“The people there and life after football and how it’s set-up good. And just, the graphic design (his major) building was amazing,” O’Neal said of why he picked Rutgers in August. “And pretty much everything I experienced there, it was just more than other colleges in my opinion.”

Todderick Hunt may be reached at Follow him on Twitter@TodderickHunt. Find Rutgers Football on Facebook.


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