Forward Pass: Rescigno's senior Reflections
In his five years as a Scarlet Knight, graduating senior Giovanni Rescigno did not once eat at Brower.
“I’m very proud to say that I never ever set foot in Brower one time in my four and a half years here,” Rescigno said.
Even as one of Michigan’s top quarterback recruits, with more than 512 career rushing yards at De La Salle High School, Rescigno could not outrun the turbulence of the Rutgers bus system when he first came to the Banks.
Early in his freshman year, an REXL bus broke down right on Route 18, leaving Rescigno in a stalemate in the middle of a New Jersey highway in 90-degree September weather without air conditioning … it was his "Welcome to Rutgers" moment.
“It was freaking hot man, it was so hot on that bus,” Rescigno said. “I remember we broke down on Route 18 on the way to Cook-Douglass.”
Rescigno would redshirt that year, Rutgers’ inaugural year in the Big Ten and the football program’s most successful one since joining the conference. Former quarterback Gary Nova led the Scarlet Knights to eight wins, including a Quick Lane Bowl victory against North Carolina.
It was the last winning record and the last bowl win Rutgers has seen since. A freshman Rescigno watched from the sideline in during that campaign, an optimistic introduction to a program he would eventually take a leadership role in.
“I was a clueless freshman coming in,” Rescigno said. “I was trying to see what it takes to be a college-level quarterback in the Big Ten and (Nova) showed me how much work you had to put in, how to be a leader and things you don’t see watching TV or even in highschool so I’m very grateful I had someone like that.”
Despite Nova’s guidance, Rescigno would redshirt a second year in a row as the team’s win total reduced to four in 2015. For the next three years, and the remainder of Rescigno’s playing career, the Knights fell to the bottom of the conference.
From 2015 to 2018, the program combined for an 11-37 record, but even in the midst of one of the worst four-year stretches in Power Five college football, Rescigno remained committed to his craft and his teammates and ascended as a leader to those beside him.
“As the years went on, things didn’t go our way,” Resigno said. “We had some things that happened in the locker room whatever it may be … The good thing about it is that it brings everyone really closer. Grinding with everyone when things aren’t going well brings everyone closer together. We’re there to win games, go to bowl games and have that experience but sometimes building relationships and having friendships that last a lifetime is more important.”
Rescigno first got on the turf in the first home game of 2016 against Howard after a two year redshirt wait. Two years after a broken-down Rutgers bus dragged him down on Route 18 in the blistering September sun, Rescigno escaped the heat of the entire Bison defense with a 42-yard touchdown rush on the first play of his collegiate career.
“It was a zone read and I pulled the ball, I start running … I stumbled forward and five guys come up to me and I lower my shoulder a little bit and I didn’t really feel a hit and there were like four guys around me so I just kept moving my legs and I ran for like 40 yards for a touchdown,” Rescigno said. “That was my first play pretty much ever in college football and I’ll never forget that.”
Rescigno went on to make 13 starts as a Knight, and in his senior year, even as a backup, the leadership he learned from Nova manifested in being named captain.
For him, his two biggest moments on the Banks were his debut touchdown run in the 2016 home opener against Howard, and in his final start against Michigan State in the last game of 2018. It was a homecoming against a familiar team and familiar faces in Rescigno's farewell to football.
“I’m from Michigan and I hated Michigan. I got a couple buddies at Michigan State and I wanted to beat them the most,” Rescigno said. “That was my last game I ever played at Rutgers and it was in my home state. I laid it all on the line, I took every hit, I played 110% every single play for all four quarters and we almost won.”
As a communication major graduating from the School of Communication & Information, Rescigno leaves Rutgers with a degree and an athletic resume that he plans on using to apply himself to a number of different opportunities. While he hasn’t settled on a specific field yet. And yes, he does have dream intentions to go pro.
“My dream job is a professional golfer hands down,” Rescigno said. “That’s the life my man – you go out there, you play golf every single day, you make a lot of money.”
Before he graduates, Resigno has one message for the potential recruits of Rutgers’ future that would share the same field and locker room and lead Rutgers into brighter pastures:
“If you wanna come build a legacy of your own and do something that no one has ever done before and take Rutgers to the top of the top … you’re gonna have a chance to expose yourself and be a part of something that has never happened before. If you go to a different school that’s already done it before, you’re not gonna be as special if you came to Rutgers and do that, whether you’re from New Jersey or not.”