Anthony Ashnault: Rutgers' GOAT

By Jon Newman

The one thing that will immediately stand out as you read this post is that I’m old.

But despite my podcast partner Danny Breslauer’s claims to the contrary, I’m not old enough to have seen Paul Robeson display his legendary multi-sport prowess on the Banks.

But as a kid I saw Lloyd and J. J. Jennings in person. As a teen I was at the Garden for Sellers, Dabney, Jordan and Bailey. As a student I was lucky enough to broadcast games on the radio featuring Hinson and Olkowski.

As a young alum I watched from afar at the exploits of Wicks and Lalas. I took my wife to see Battaglia and watched Douby and Battle on TV. I was lucky enough to decide to invest for football season tickets and made the drives to Piscataway from Virginia and cried the night Rice, Britt, Teel and Ito beat Louisville (c’mon you cried too).

I beamed with pride as C. Viv. led her team to the Final Four and represented our school in the face of national controversy. I even dragged my daughter to Charlottesville and witnessed the greatest soccer match I’ve even seen as Rutgers women won a shootout over UVA to reach the Final Four.

So many student athletes over the years. So many great years and great performances. But last night we as a fan base witnessed the culmination of the greatest single-season performance by a student athlete in the history of Rutgers Athletics. For despite all the baskets, goals, hits, touchdowns and field goals, Anthony Ashnault is the only one (at least that I can recall) that went undefeated, all year, against the best his sport could offer and capped it with the national championship.

And as Danny added on Twitter today: You can definitely make an argument that Anthony Ashnault just completed the greatest individual year in @RUAthletics history. On national semis or title-winning teams, Phil Sellers & Sue Wicks get to be in the discussion. Ray Rice & Quincy Douby are close behind them. #Rutgers

Add the fact that he is Jersey born and bred, is the guy that decided to stay home, that he came back after taking a year off for injury and it only makes it that much sweeter.

In the latest episode of The Scarlet Spotlight podcast (included below this post just hit the play button) Danny asked Rutgers Athletic Director Pat Hobbs if he was still having fun in this fourth year on the job. Pat responded that one of his goals was to erase the phase “long suffering” from Rutgers fans’ vocabulary. With their “white” singlets last night Ashnault and Nick Suriano “outted” that phrase forever.

And Ashnault capped it off on national television answering Quint Kessenich’s question about his legacy by shouting “How about those Scarlet Knights” before starting an R-U cheer that only us on the other side of the TV could hear. That 60 seconds should be the next Rutgers Athletics public service announcement.

If that doesn’t make him the poster child of Rutgers Athletics, nothing does.

His accomplishments are now the bar set for every current and future Rutgers athlete. His picture is the one every coach should point to when recruiting a New Jersey high school star telling them “Ashnault stayed home and became a national champion, you can too.”

He is without question the greatest of all time. He is R GOAT.

To listen to Episode 27 of The Scarlet Spotlight podcast with quest Pat Hobbs just hit the play button below.

Jon Newman