Stephenson Achieves Qualifying Score
On any other non-game day for the Rutgers football program, the news of early Tuesday morning would have been enough to satisfy the masses. It came when Delon Stephenson, a talented 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back, logged onto a website and learned he achieved a qualifying SAT score and is now NCAA eligible. The Milford Academy (New Berlin, N.Y.) safety will enroll in January, will participate in spring practice and could contend for playing time as a cornerback in the 2013 season. "It feels good," Stephenson said in understating the moment. "I can finally start playing football there now. This is what I wanted to do since I don't know how old. I get to play at the next level, and hopefully I do well and hopefully I get to play in the NFL one day." The day only improved for everyone associated with the football program because a few hours later, during a joint press conference between Rutgers and the Big Ten, it was announced the Scarlet Knights are switching to the Big Ten. The night ended with four-star offensive lineman Dorian Miller announcing his commitment to Rutgers. "This taught me to keep my grades up and not to mess around in school," said Stephenson, who played at Sayreville High in Parlin, N.J. "It showed me to never give up and if I keep working hard, I can eventually get to where I need to be." That spot, which is located 15 minutes from his home, is expected to have a markedly different look by his second season on campus. That is when Rutgers could begin playing in the Big Ten. "It means a lot," Stephenson said. "It's better competition I get to play against, which is always good. I want to get to Rutgers and take the next step and win a Big Ten championship." Stephenson took the SATs earlier this month, and at the time expressed confidence he would get the needed score. However, that feeling began to change in the days leading up to Tuesday. "It was tough," he said. "At first, I felt comfortable. But then as the day got close, I lost a little faith and was worried." When Stephenson received the notification he achieved his needed SAT score, he immediately texted his brother, Daryl Stephenson, a red-shirt freshman on the Rutgers team. His immediate focus is watching the Scarlet Knights try to win, at least, a share of the Big East title by defeating Pittsburgh on Saturday. If the Scarlet Knights win and Louisville loses to Connecticut, the Scarlet Knights would earn their first outright title and their clinch a spot in their BCS bowl game. Otherwise, Rutgers will host Louisville on Nov. 29, with the winner gaining the BCS berth. "I should be able to watch Pitt because I'll be at home," Stephenson said. "I don't know about Louisville because I'll be at school."