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December 9, 2012
Less than two months before he makes the leap from high school to college, running back Dontea Ayres ventured to Rutgers University to get a taste of college life and participate in his "official" visit.
"This weekend was a very exciting weekend," said Ayres. "I spent a lot of one-on-one with the coaches. I also spent one-on-one time with the players. We went to Manhattan, Time Square, and had tons of food."
Ayres was hosted by Rutgers freshman Derrick Nelson.
"He is an offensive lineman, a freshman. We are both from the same area, which is nice," said Ayres. "He is a great kid, very funny. Our personalities complement one another very well."
One player who Ayres had a chance to spend time with was star running back, Jawan Jamison. With scuttlebutt surrounding a possible jump for Jamison to the NFL, Ayres commented on the situation.
"Steel sharpens steel. I would love it if Jawan stays. He is a veteran. He has been there for years. He has been in the program. There is a lot I can learn from him. It would be great to compete with him. It is something about competing with somebody that has the same talent as you or more; It brings something out of you. I hope he stays, but if he doesn't, it is ok."
Ayres also had a chance to spend time with several of the coaches. In particular, he mentioned coaches Spence, Wilson, Wroblewski, and Flood. Ayres said it was especially nice to speak to his future position coach, Wilson.
"Coach Wilson is very calm, a laid back kind of guy," said Ayres. "But he is very funny. Very educated. He knows the game inside and out. I am excited that he is my coach, and I am ready to learn with him."
Although fans might expect that a hot topic of conversation was the team's move to the Big 10, Ayres said that it was barely mentioned.
"We didn't talk much about it, but it is definitely a bigger stage. More competition," said Ayres. "It means a lot. Obviously the Big 10 is more competitive than the Big East. As an athlete, you think there will be more competition that will bring more out of you. You have to adjust to your competition and become better to play against it. I am excited. This is a great move."
Ayres will enroll at Rutgers on January 20th and will participate in the spring session. The past few months have involved a change of high schools and a season without football. It was all part of the plan to enroll early - a plan that also involves countless hours in the weight room and a strict adherence to maintaining a good diet.
"The biggest thing with [my training] is that you have to be motivated by something that is bigger than yourself. I am motivated by someone who is more important than me, or my wants and needs. And to wake up and be more motivated by that person, it gives me fuel for the fire."
Who is that person?
"That person is my mother. I haven't seen my mother in years. The faster I get to school and get my education, the faster we can be reunited."
Ayres starts that journey in 7 weeks.