#1: Newark Star-Ledger
RU recruitment wows star DT right from
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
BY TOM LUICCI
Scott Vallone heard the noise immediately but pretended
not to notice, doing his best to pay rapt attention as Boston
College football coach Jeff Jagodzinksi and assistant Bill McGovern,
his recruiting ace, made their pitch.
But if the sounds were possible
to ignore, the sight was not. A helicopter had just landed on
the practice field at St. Anthony High School in South Huntington,
N.Y., and moments after it did, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano
and assistant Kyle Flood emerged from it.
Rutgers coach "Greg" Schiano routinely lands near high
schools in helicopters in attempt to impress prospective football
Vallone and the two Boston College coaches only had to
glance outside of the room they were meeting in at the time to
notice the splashy entrance.
"I just looked at the two of them and said 'sorry,'"
said Vallone, the top-rated defensive tackle in New York state.
"They just kind of looked at each other and tried to smile.
"I was a little embarrassed. It was awkward at first.
But I have to admit: It was pretty impressive."
Maybe Schiano's sense of timing that day last spring didn't
seal the deal with the 6-3, 267-pound Vallone. But it probably
Rated the nation's No. 32 defensive lineman by SuperPrep
Magazine, and labeled "one of the top five prospects in
New York State," by Tom Lemming of Prep Football Report
and CSTV, Vallone is one of the headliners in Schiano's latest
recruiting class that will be officially unveiled today.
That class currently numbers 18, though three -- offensive
lineman Art Forst, WR Keith Stroud and quarterback Steve Shimko
-- have already enrolled in school and will be able to participate
in spring practice. The remaining 15 are expected to make their
commitments official today, the start of the National Letter
of Intent signing period.
"I was pretty much down to Rutgers and Boston College
at the time," Vallone said. "I don't know if the helicopter
trip made a difference. In fact, I had to hear about it the next
few days in school. Guys would pass me by with their arms out
pretending to be airplanes.
"It was more that coach Schiano showed so much personal
interest in me and we hit it off. He's a coach I am going to
enjoy playing for."
Vallone, who also considered Maryland and Virginia, is
exactly the type of Long Island star that Boston College and
Syracuse seemed to have exclusive rights to the previous decade.
That was before Schiano extended "the state of Rutgers"
in his recruiting -- in part because of increasing reliance on
a helicopter that enables him to make several stops in a day.
"If Scott Vallone is playing in North Jersey, Michigan,
Notre Dame and all the big schools are all over him," MSG
high school guru Mike Quick said. "Long Island doesn't have
that reputation. But I'm telling you, he has a chance to be special."
Quick was sold during a game in Vallone's junior year against
Iona Prep in New Rochelle, N.Y.
"As good a series as I've ever seen a defensive player
have," he said. "On the first play they run a sweep
away from him and he does a swim move on the offensive lineman
and it's like he's shot out of a cannon. He gets the running
back for a four-yard loss. That's when I knew he was a difference
St. Anthony coach Rich Reichert picks up the series from
"The next play he gets a sack, then they run a trap
and he blows up the fullback, and then on fourth down he blocks
the punt," Reichert said. "It was pretty impressive."
Reichert gave Vallone the ultimate compliment by starting
him as a sophomore for the Long Island football powerhouse.
"He was a three-year starter for us and we don't have
sophomores start very often," said Reichert, "and he's
the only guy we ever allowed to be a captain as a junior."
Because of his build, and affinity for the weight room,
the long-term goal is to get Vallone to 285 pounds so he can
be a dominant force in the middle.
Tom Luicci may be reached at email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Star Ledger
#2: Newark Sun-Ledger
RU Loses Star Philosophy Student to Harvard
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
By TIM LUCCINI
Scott Dixon heard the noise but pretended not to notice.
Inside the room Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust and Michael
D. Smith, dean of the Harvard faculty, were trying their hardest
to convince Dixon that Harvard was the place for him.
But if the racket was possible to ignore, the sight that appeared
in the window was not. Out there in the parking lot of McNair
Academic High School in Jersey City, N.J., a helicopter had landed.
Moments later, star Rutgers philosopher Jerry Fodor
and his colleague Stephen Stich emerged.
Dixon and the two Harvard administrators only had to look through
the window to watch the splashy entrance.
philosophers Jerry Fodor and Steven Stich landing in parking
lot of McNair Academic High School. "Helicopter ploy"
is reported to have failed ignominiously with McNair senior Scott
I glanced at the two of them to see how they were taking
it, said Dixon, a senior who published his first
article in The Review of Metaphysics as a high school sophomore.
They just kind of looked at each other and rolled their
With double 800 scores on the SAT and a wide range of outside
activitiestheater, cross-country, orchestra, editor of
the school newspaperDixon was, said Faust and Smith, the
kind of New Jersey student Harvard most wanted to attract. But
Dixon had been telling them that hed decided to attend
Harvard is a great university, he said later, but
their philosophy department only ranks #7. Rutgers is always
tied with Princeton and NYU for tops in the country. Theyre
fantastic in my area, philosophy of mind. For someone with my
interests, it really seemed like there was no other choice.
We thought wed lost him, Harvards Smith
later confided. We really cant compete with Rutgers
in philosophy, and Scott is a New Jersey boy who naturally favored
going to his own state university. It was only when Rutgers decided
to come after him by helicopter that I knew we stood a chance.
The splashy entrance, it turns out, made a difference.
It was so incredibly crass, Dixon said. Not
to mention the ear-splitting noise. When Fodor and Stich climbed
out, I thought there must be some kind of crazy mistake. Thats
the kind of thing a place like Florida State might do to try
to impress some low-SAT football type. I mean, think about it:
who must Fodor and Stich think I am if Id be impressed
by a vulgar stunt like that?
It was good news for Harvard. Two days later, Dixon withdrew
his application to Rutgers. There are things just as important
as philosophy, he said in a recent phone call. When
a school is going after applicants who think it's cool to see
recruiters climbing out of helicopters, you sort of get an idea
what you could expect as a student there. I feel very comfortable
with my decision to go to Harvard.
Tim Luiccini may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Sun Ledger