PISCATAWAY, NJ–Just days after quarterback Anthony Russo decommitted from Rutgers football, the Scarlet Knights have lost another top high school prospect. Cornerback Patrice Rene announced on Tuesday that he has decided to move on from the program.

“This isn’t something that is easy for me but after long conversations & prayer with my family and coaches, I have decided that I am going to decommitt [sic] from Rutgers University,” Rene wrote in a statement on Twitter.

“I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for the entire CHOPnation fans for their love and support throughout this entire process!” he continued.

Rene then thanked former Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood and his staff, who had recruited the highly sought after defensive back since early 2014.

Rene also thanked new head coach Chris Ash and his staff for continuing to show interest in him.

The Ottawa native’s decommitment does not come as a total shock.

Even after verbally committing to the Scarlet Knights last August, there were rumors that Rene was being pursued by Wisconsin. In late November, he took an official visit to the Badgers.

Rene wasted no time in finding a new home. Despite Wisconsin’s early interest, North Carolina strongly pursued him, and just hours after announcing his departure from Rutgers, he verbally committed to the Tar Heels.

Like Russo, Rene did not provide a specific reason for his decommitment.

It is possible Rene was simply committed to playing for Flood at Rutgers, and was not as interested in playing for Ash and his staff.

Flood was relieved of his duties as head coach after the 2015 season came to an end. Including Rene, seven recruits have decommitted from Rutgers following Flood’s dismissal.

Exoduses of recruits following a coaching change are common throughout college football, so what’s happening with Rutgers recruits is unfortunate, but not totally unprecedented.

Rated a four-star prospect by recruiting site Rivals, Rene was the top-ranked recruit of Rutgers’ 2016 recruiting class.

Rutgers’ secondary struggled last year under former defensive coordinator Joe Rossi, so Rene likely would have had an opportunity to start and make an impact as a true freshman for the Scarlet Knights in 2016.

Chris Ash has had to play catch-up on the recruiting trail since he only joined Rutgers in December. Despite the previously mentioned seven decommits, 12 high school players remain committed to the Scarlet Knights, including one that Ash secured a commitment from.

Three-star Linebacker Elorm Lumor from Milford Academy in New York had been committed to Temple since November, but last week it was revealed that Lumor had flipped to Rutgers, becoming Ash’s first commit as Rutgers head coach.

With almost two weeks left until National Signing Day on Wednesday, February 3, there is still time for Rutgers to build a decent recruiting class for the 2016 season. 

Reporter at New Brunswick Today