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March 15, 2013Flanders (N.J.) Mount Olive offensive tackle Zack Heeman had a Rutgers offer and had already been to campus before he made an unofficial visit to Piscataway yesterday, but his latest trip was the one that made the 6-foot-8, 265-pound lineman know where he wanted to spend his next four years of college.
"I took a second visit to Rutgers yesterday and got to spend some more time with coach Flood, coach Wroblewski and coach Prince," Heeman said. "That visit really put it over the top for me. It let me know Rutgers is the place I want to be. I think that's the place that can help me reach my potential and get to the next level."
Heeman slept on his decision before calling Kyle Flood this morning and offering up his commitment. He is the fifth verbal for Rutgers in the class of 2014, and the fourth New Jersey prospect to pledge.
"He was excited when I told him," Heeman said of Flood. "He said he's happy to have me on board and part of the family."
An accomplished basketball player-he reached the 1,000-point plateau this season-Heeman's athleticism was one of the major reasons Rutgers got in on him early, offering during an unofficial visit earlier this month.
"They feel that at this point after my junior year, I have a lot of potential because of my athletic ability and my foot speed," he said. "Also, they feel I will fit in with the family atmosphere they have, which is something I enjoyed. They really are like a family there. They're a cohesive unit, and I want to be a part of that."
Heeman's first visit to Rutgers came on March 5, when he and his family were part of a group of recruits and relatives that took in the Rutgers men's basketball game against Marquette.
The contingent was also treated to a tour of the football facilities earlier in the evening. The entire outing left a positive impression on Heeman.
"It was exciting. All the football facilities are top notch, and are new since 2005," he said. "I was really impressed with the weight room, and even the basketball game itself-Rutgers wasn't favored, but they almost beat Marquette, who was ranked. It was really enticing."
With his recruitment in its infancy, Heeman would have likely landed more offers, but he is firm in his decision to join the Rutgers program.
It's nearly a year until he will officially sign, but he plans on familiarizing himself more with his future home this spring.
"I definitely am going to come back down with my football coach for some practices, so I can see a college practice and get a feel for the speed of it," Heeman said. "I plan on catching a game or two in the fall also."