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Rutgers announces new six-year deal with Adidas

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Rutgers is ending a partnership with Nike and embarking on a new six-year partnership with Adidas.

Announced today, the new contract between Rutgers and Adidas will officially begin on July 1, 2017, at which point the current contract with Nike will expire. Adidas will provide all athletic programs at Rutgers with footwear, apparel, and accessories, which means Adidas will get a chance to see what they can do with the football uniforms.

“Everyone here at Rutgers is excited to be partnering with Adidas,” Rutgers Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs said in a released statement. “Our coaches and students know they will be getting outstanding apparel and equipment with which to compete. As important, Adidas will bring unmatched service to our programs. We look forward to celebrating much success together, both on and off the field.”

“We are extremely excited about our new partnership with Adidas,” Rutgers head coach Chris Ash said. We are committed to giving our student-athletes the best to help them on and off the field. Adidas is the perfect partner to outfit our players as they compete.”

The terms of the new contract (how much Rutgers will receive from Adidas) have not been reported at this time.

What the new Rutgers football uniforms will look like remains a mystery to the public at this time, although it is likely a proposed uniform has already been mocked up if the company is going to suit Rutgers up starting this season. Rutgers will be the third Big Ten program to have a contract with Adidas, with Indiana and Nebraska already under the Adidas banner. Nebraska has a five-year deal signed in 2013 that pays the school $15.53 million. Last spring, Michigan and Nike signed a $173.8 million apparel deal, making Michigan football the first team to wear the Jumpman logo on a football uniform.

Adidas also has contracts with Arizona State, Arkansas State, Central Michigan, East Carolina, Eastern Michigan, FIU, FAU, Georgia Southern, Kansas, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Miami FL, Miami OH, Mississippi State, NC State, Northern Illinois, Rice, Texas A&M, Texas State, Troy, Tulsa, UMass, UTSA and Western Michigan.

Report: Rutgers saying goodbye to Nike as school closes in on Adidas apparel deal

PISCATAWAY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26: Members of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights celebrate after defeating the Kansas Jayhawks at High Point Solutions Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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While it may not contribute much to the win-loss column, Rutgers is expected to undergo a bit of an overhaul on the uniform front.

NJ.com is reporting that the Scarlet Knight’s deal with Nike is set to expire in June and that the school will be switching over to Adidas at that time in a six-year pact worth as much as $10 million in cash and clothes.

That nearly doubles the total amount the school received under their previous deal. While money was no doubt a factor in the switch over, it certainly seems as though Rutgers’ on the field struggles since their move to the Big Ten (in all sports) contributed to Nike not exactly jumping to renew ties:

Sources say the Nike renewal deal never gained serious traction.  Although Nike had the right of first refusal, the Oregon-based shoe company declined that option, a source said. Nike’s offer to Rutgers was to keep Rutgers’ annual compensation at $1.1 million, according to multiple sources

Perhaps most notable out of the report was the fact that the school tried to pitch Under Armour on ponying up some big bucks and then creating a rivalry game — complete with a trophy — with Big Ten foe Maryland, one of the flagship schools of the Baltimore-based company. Apparently executives decided it wasn’t worth it, allowing the program to move on to Adidas.

Either way, expect a new set of uniforms on the Scarlet Knights next season with a decidedly different look from what they’ve shown recently.

Big Ten National Signing Day recap: Ohio State lands historic class, Michigan not far behind

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes shakes hands with head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines after a 42-13 Ohio State win at Michigan Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Big Ten is the same as it ever was after National Signing Day with Ohio State and Michigan once again leading the way thanks to a boat load of talent headed their way. Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh both have proven to be some of the top coaches in college football and that is certainly apparent every February when the two land a pair of top five classes like they did this year.

The Buckeyes’ haul is particularly notable as one of the few groups that can keep pace with No. 1 ranked Alabama, even edging the Tide’s class when it comes to the average star ranking of the 21 signees. That historic haul for OSU includes the top cornerback, outside linebacker, offensive guard and top junior college defensive back. As if that isn’t enough talent headed to Columbus, the second-ranked defensive end, dual-threat quarterback and all-purpose back are also in the fold.

The Wolverines were no slouch either and managed to already enroll 11 top players early. In addition, Harbaugh and his staff reached into the South for defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon and several IMG Academy stars. Defending champion Penn State made a late surge as well and Nebraska made a very nice push into Southern California to land a quality class.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 7 overall Jeffrey Okudah (CB, Ohio State), No. 8 overall Chase Young (DE, OSU), No. 11 Baron Browning (LB, OSU), No. 12 overall Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR, Michigan)

Top 25 classes: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 5 Michigan, No. 15 Penn State, No. 18 Maryland, No. 23 Nebraska

Biggest storyline: Ohio State, Michigan find plenty of success nationally

Everybody knows the two Big Ten powerhouses will perform well on the recruiting trail given their coaching staffs, history of success and ability to put players in the league. But what might be most impressive this year is the amazing reach the two displayed in mining the entire country for talent. Meyer went to Nevada for a top quarterback, landed more blue-chippers from Texas than any in-state school and beat out just about everybody in the South for prospects from Florida. The Wolverines, meanwhile, beat out Alabama and Georgia for a five-star defensive tackle and recruited even more nationally than Notre Dame with signees from 14 different states.

Biggest surprise: Maryland lands a top 20 class

There’s always a head-turner in the team rankings each year and in 2017 that might be the fact that Maryland landed a top 20 classes and the fourth-best in the Big Ten. That includes a whopping nine four-star recruits for D.J. Durkin’s team, led by tailback Cordarrian Richardson straight from the heart of SEC territory. The team had a nice turnaround last season and appear primed to climb more based on how they did Wednesday.

Don’t sleep on: Nebraska, Iowa

Mike Riley is no stranger to the West Coast thanks to his days at USC and Oregon State and he’s clearly leaning heavily on those ties in putting together a great group for the Cornhuskers in 2017. Big Red wrestled away Nevada receiver Tyjon Lindsey away from Ohio State and beat out a bunch of names for early enrollee quarterback Tristan Gebbia from Southern California. There’s been a major infusion of speed and quickness with this class. As for the Hawkeyes, they managed to lure a surprising commitment from a five-star defensive end and really upgraded some of the skill position talent.

We’ll see about: Michigan State, Wisconsin

The usual suspects dominated the top spots in the team rankings but that wasn’t quite the case for two teams that love to recruit, develop and then crank out talent for the next level in Michigan State and Wisconsin. The two schools combined for just six four-star players on Wednesday but still managed to finish with a pair of top 40 classes. Given how well the coaching staffs have been able to find some hidden gems, chances are high that will be the case once again with their 2017 signees, even if it takes a few seasons before those results will be realized.

Rutgers officially replaces assistant lost to NC State

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 05:  Head coach Chris Ash of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights waits to lead the team onto the field prior to the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at High Point Solutions Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Less than two weeks after a hole on his Rutgers coaching staff was created, Chris Ash has filled it.

In confirming various reports, RU announced Thursday that Henry Baker has been hired as Ash’s cornerbacks coach.  Baker replaces Aaron Henry, who left earlier this month to become the defensive backs coach at North Carolina State.

One of the biggest pluses of Baker’s addition is that he’s a native of Paterson, NJ.

“I am excited to add Henry to our staff,” said the head coach in a statement. “He’s a New Jersey guy and a highly intelligent coach. Henry will be a great mentor and leader for our players.”

The past six seasons, Baker served as the cornerbacks coach at FCS Delaware.  Baker’s first job at the FBS level came at his alma mater Maryland in 2008 and 2009.

LB Na’jee Clayton rowing his boat from Rutgers to Western Michigan

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Running back Myles Gaskin #9 of the Washington Huskies rushes against linebacker Najee Clayton #28 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on September 3, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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Provided he’s not in Minnesota, P.J. Fleck will have some Power Five linebacking help come the 2017 season.

On his Twitter account Tuesday, Na’jee Clayton intimated that he had decided to move on from Rutgers and would be joining Fleck’s Western Michigan football program. In a conversation with nj.com, the linebacker subsequently confirmed that Kalamazoo will serve as his new college football home.

Clayton had left the Scarlet Knights in September for what were described as personal reasons. According to the website, there had been no communication between the player and the coaching staff from the time of his departure to his decision to move on to the Broncos.

A three-star 2015 recruit, Clayton was rated as the No. 14 player at any position in the state of New Jersey. After playing in six games on special teams as a true freshman, he played in two this season before leaving the team.

After sitting out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws, Clayton will have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.

Minnesota abruptly, but not surprisingly, fired Tracy Claeys as the football program’s head coach Tuesday evening.  Fleck, who reached an agreement in principle on a new contract with WMU but hasn’t signed it yet as the two sides haggle over pay for his assistant coaches, has been mentioned prominently as a potential candidate to replace Claeys.