At first, Jarubi Barnwell was a little reticent to embrace the seemingly non-stop stream of paperwork, all addressed to her son, Nadir. There were piles of letters detailing why he should choose Program X and University Y as the next stop of his football career.
After all, as blessed as he was to receive the attention, Nadir would have a lot to sift through countless recruiting pitches and presentations before deciding which place best fit him.
"When the letters started flowing in, I was a little nervous for him because I wanted him to make the right decision, because a lot of coaches say the right things, but you always want your son to be happy wherever he goes," Jarubi Barnwell said. "So I was just hoping he made the decision based on his heart and what the school could offer him, not just the football field."
Hailing from Piscataway, Nadir Barnwell is a four-star defensive back who had a plethora of options to choose from at the next level. So what made him--and his family for that matter--feel comfortable enough down the street at Rutgers to choose his hometown program over all the others?
"When I first purchased a home, I kept saying there were so many beautiful homes, but my grandmother told me when you enter the home, you will feel like it's your home and then you'll know," Jarubi explained. "And when we entered Rutgers and I met the coaches and they showed us around and he spoke to us, I felt like it was home and Nadir felt the same way."
Throughout the recruiting process, Rutgers employed a steady approach to pursuing Barnwell. They let him know how much he was wanted, but never pushed him to reach a hasty decision or dissuade him from exploring his options.
Such tactics resonated with the prospect's father, Harvey.
"I'll say this; I think the way Rutgers embraced him--and I call it the way they dated him--they courted him the right way," Harvey Barnwell said. "I think that the program being that close, no other program could develop the relationship that Rutgers did. It is like your next-door neighbor, the girl next door. It's a great situation for him, and for us."
Robb Smith was the point man for Barnwell's recruitment, and Harvey Barnwell felt satisfied with the way the first-year defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach explained what Rutgers had to offer his son both on and off the field.
"Coach Smith stayed on him, with him, continuously conversed with us about what they offered" he said. "And I'm big on school. At the end of this journey, if anything, he's going to walk away with a great education."
A naturally gifted athlete, Nadir Barnwell is a skilled basketball player and eschewed a promising baseball career to focus on football. His mother says he is also a scratch bowler.
But the gridiron is his home, and for Harvey Barnwell, last night's announcement on live television was just another high point on his son's promising football journey,
"I saw him on the front lawn at seven years old, finally having an opportunity, and then to this. To see this young man work as hard as he did and finally accomplish a piece of what he has been working for, I'm ecstatic."