- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) - Kyle Flood was more interested in discussing the football players coming to Rutgers for its first Big Ten Conference season than the ones who walked away.

Rutgers and Flood unveiled a recruiting class that lost much of its luster in the last two months, announcing on Wednesday that 26 had signed national letters of intent.

The Scarlet Knights had 13 players de-commit, including several four-star players, after some late speculation that Flood would be fired after last season’s 6-7 record. The exodus was also influenced by changes in coordinators.

The new group of recruits includes six mid-year enrollees, but it lacks Big Ten star power.

The Scarlet Knights do not boast a single four- or five-star recruit, according to Rivals.com and Scout.com. Rutgers is one of two Big Ten schools without a single four-star recruit, according to Rivals and Scout. The others are Purdue (Scout) and Illinois (Rivals).

Four-star recruits Saeed Blacknall (Penn State), Kiy Hester (Miami), Jonathan Hilliman (Boston College) and Tyler Wiegers (Iowa) all de-committed.

But Flood isn’t concerned about recruiting service rankings.

“Someone would have to tell me how the star system measures. I don’t know that,” Flood said. “What I do know is this: The way the star system has portrayed the past hasn’t really come to fruition. I think we have ten two-star players that are currently in the NFL.”

Rutgers signed 11 offensive players, 14 defensive players and one specialist.

“We were not naive to the fact that we felt we needed linemen,” Flood said. “We needed to build depth up front on both sides of the ball. And the opportunity to sign six defensive linemen and four offensive linemen, I feel we’ve done that and quite a few of them from New Jersey.”

Overall, Rutgers had eight recruits from New Jersey, seven from Florida, three from New York, two from Minnesota, two from Pennsylvania, and one each from Michigan, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

It’s no secret the Scarlet Knights’ recruiting footprint is expanding into Big Ten country.

“The nontraditional areas - I think that has probably the biggest impact Big Ten has had on us in recruiting,” Flood said. “I think it’s given us access to other areas and given us openings where there’s going to be some players every year from our nontraditional areas that want to be part of a great university like Rutgers and want to be a part of a great conference like Big Ten and have an opportunity to play for Big Ten championships.”