The day after his hiring, Flood can feel the momentum swing. One by one recruits are calling to confirm their commitment now that it looks as though the program will be led by a familiar face. But one big fish remains: Don Bosco's Hamilton, who will announce his choice between Miami and Rutgers on a regional cable sports show. Pernetti is at a women's basketball game against Notre Dame when he pulls out his phone to watch Hamilton's decision being streamed online. The AD is not the only one in the arena watching, it turns out. A cheer rings across the Louis Brown Athletic Center as Hamilton puts on a black Rutgers cap. The Knights have just landed the top recruit in school history.
Just before midnight Flood gets a call from Ian Thomas, a three-star receiver from Reisterstown, Md., who had been considering Rutgers, Auburn, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. "I heard that Darius is coming to Rutgers—I'm coming too," Thomas tells Flood. "Coaches have been calling me all day, saying you just got hired and I shouldn't go to Rutgers. We're going to prove everybody all wrong."
The biggest surprise in Piscataway on signing day is that there are no surprises. The first fax arrives at 7:01 a.m., from defensive back Davon Jacobs of DePaul Catholic in Wayne, N.J. The final one comes in shortly after noon, from defensive back Jevon Tyree of South Brunswick, N.J. Despite losing out on Fuller and Giacone's change of heart, Rutgers has locked up the No. 24 class, according to Rivals—the best in the Big East and the school's first in the Top 25. A triumphant Flood holds his second press conference in 24 hours to introduce "the greatest recruiting class in the history of Rutgers University."
Late in the afternoon Flood is back in front of his computer, back in his familiar cramped office. He still hasn't had time to move into the empty head coach's office down the hall; there are recruits for the 2013 class to e-mail, after all. "It never ends," Flood says. A new countdown has begun: 213 days until the opener against Tulane.