Nadir Barnwell is the most immediate target on the Rutgers recruiting board in terms of location, and the Piscataway defensive back is currently debating whether to commit to the Scarlet Knights before the end of summer or allow his recruitment to play out into his senior season.
Rutgers has long been a favorite of Barnwell's but the Scarlet Knights were solidified as his top choice after he attended Friday Night Lights at the University of Florida and eliminated the Gators from contention soon thereafter.
"Florida is a great program, great stadium but I've been coming to Rutgers since I was like 7, and every time I go there, everything's about family," Barnwell said. "They actually care about you. They want you to succeed in life, because you know that you're not always going to make it to the league. I feel comfortable that if I get hurt, that they're going to make sure I get my degree at Rutgers.
"Rutgers is a great program. It's close to home and I have a good chance of going to the league from Rutgers."
Should Barnwell decline to commit early to Rutgers, he lists Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee and UCLA as places he would consider visiting. He has yet to visit any of these programs, and if he does take officials to this quartet of schools, Rutgers would be in line for his fifth official visit.
According to Barnwell, the dialogue is still ongoing with his family as to what route he will decide to take.
"I'm still talking to my parents," he said. "I may take just one trip during the season. I don't know yet. My parents and I are going to talk. I don't have a time frame for deciding, just whenever I feel the time is right."
Barnwell is planning on attending Rutgers' Saturday night scrimmage, along with teammate Kyle LaPorte, following the Chiefs' own scrimmage with Wayne Hills. Barnwell has already checked out a day of training camp for the Scarlet Knights.
"Their practice was great," he said. "Rutgers always has a great practice: very intense, very quick. They're a great program with good coaches. The players respect the coaches so they work hard."
Heavily involved his own training camp, his last at Piscataway, Barnwell and his teammates are hard at work trying to maintain the standard of excellence established in recent years. The Chiefs are coming off consecutive North 2, Group IV titles, and Barnwell said he and his classmates want to leave their own legacy.
"We've got some big shoes to fill at Piscataway," he said. "The seniors here have all contributed to the last championship, and a couple of us contributed to the one before it [in 2010]. We're just trying to do what the previous seniors did and lead like they did. We want to be leaders vocally and by showing. If we're not fortunate enough to go to the championship, we're going to go out the way Chiefs go out: with a good season."
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