While Rutgers recruited the most football players from the seven-county South Jersey area, the No. 2 team was Baylor.
Rutgers had five commitments from South Jersey, but Baylor recruited three and even though Waco, Texas is a long way from South Jersey, it's no surprise.
That's because on Dec. 6, Matt Rhule was named the Baylor head coach after a successful four-year run at Temple.
Rhule brought a few of his assistants with him to Baylor and one of them, Francis Brown, certainly knows his way around the South Jersey recruiting circles.
Now the defensive backs coach at Baylor, after having the same position at Temple, Brown is a graduate of Camden High.
He knows the South Jersey area as well as anybody. And there is no doubt he was a major factor in getting a trio of South Jersey recruits to go to Waco, Texas.
The three South Jersey players are Cherry Hill West defensive back Harrison Hand, Pennsville tight end/defensive end Rob Saulin and Cherokee running back John Lovett.
(The five South Jersey players heading to Rutgers are Cedar Creek two-way lineman Owen Bowles and receiver Bo Melton, Burlington Township receiver Everett Wormley, Woodrow Wilson defensive back Edwin Lopez and Timber Creek defensive back Naijee Jones).
Hand was highly recruited and was considering Temple when the old coaching staff was still there.
At 6-foot and 190-pounds, he has the size and speed to stick with receivers. Hand could play corner or safety, although it appears as if he will come as a corner.
He helped Cherry Hill West become one of the most improved teams in South Jersey. After a 4-5 season last year, the Lions went 8-2. Hand had 46 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass deflections. He was also a threat on offense where Hand had 19 receptions for 293 yards and three touchdowns. Hand also rushed for 329 yards (11.8 avg.) and three TDs.
Saulin (6-5, 240) has enjoyed an interesting recruiting experience. He first made a verbal commitment to Connecticut, but changed his mind and then made switched his choice to Temple.
After the coaching change, he switched again to Baylor.
Saulin is a versatile player who had 20 receptions for 203 yards and two TDs. He also contributed 84 tackles and two sacks.
Cherokee's Lovett, who de-committed from Rutgers, chose Baylor over Michigan State in the end.
The 6-0, 190-pound Lovett can beat teams with both power and speed. This season he rushed for 1,359 yards (7.6 avg.) and 23 touchdowns.
With Brown and Rhule at Baylor, look for the Bears to continue recruting the South Jersey area.
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