Denman Goes In-depth on Switch to Rutgers

Four-star offensive lineman J.J. Denman of Pennsbury High (Fairless Hills, Pa.) announced Monday he changed his commitment from Wisconsin to Rutgers, and then he spoke to about why the move made sense to him.

The stability of and familiarity with the Rutgers coaching staff, the vibe he got during his official visit and the bond he developed with a number of prospects were all big in Pennsbury High (Fairless Hills, Pa.) four-star offensive lineman J.J. Denman flipping his commitment from Wisconsin to Rutgers.

The 6-foot-6, 300-pound Denman made the switch at the end of his official visit Sunday, and revealed his decision Monday after telling Penn State and Wisconsin he would not make scheduled official visits, and alerting Pittsburgh he was heading to Rutgers.

"I don't know, the way everyone gets along with everybody, that was something," Denman said.

Denman, who is the 17th-rated offensive tackle in the 2012 class, made the official visit to Rutgers over the weekend and was hosted by Matt McBride. He spent a lot of time with Rutgers commit Chris Muller and offensive lineman Betim Bujari

But the idea of joining Muller, Archbishop Wood High's Brandon Arcidiacono, Archbishop Carroll's Derrick Nelson and possibly Long Branch High's Ryan Brodie, who is choosing between Connecticut and Rutgers on Wednesday, weighed into Denman's decision.

"That was a big part of it," Denman said. "In the rankings, you can say there are better classes of offensive lines, but I feel like in a few years, if everyone works hard enough and we do our stuff, I feel like we can have one of the best offensive lines in the country."

Denman also has a strong relationship with Rutgers offensive line coach Kyle Flood.

"I'm really comfortable with coach Flood," Denman said. "I've probably met him more than 10 times. We basically know each other so well there's not really anything more to find out about him.

"I know his coaching style. I've been to practice, and the way he goes about it at practice is really good. He's not just a yeller and screamer."

Denman said he began looking at Rutgers after a shakeup in Wisconsin's staff, including the loss of offensive line coach Bob Bostad to Pittsburgh.

"The staff that is at Wisconsin now isn't the staff I committed to," Denman said. "I was like, ‘all right, I'll go look around."

One constant through Denman's recruitment, dating back to his summer commitment to Penn State and even after his switching to Wisconsin, was Rutgers' involvement. He was always made to feel like he was a priority.

"I did get that sense from the coaches," he said. "Even after I committed to Penn State and then I switched to Wisconsin, they were always hitting me up. They were not bugging me, but just staying in contact."

A key figure in that was his recruiting coach, Brian Angelichio, who has proven to be a master recruiter for the staff.

"It's just the way he builds relationships with kids," Denman said. "He knows how to become friends with someone and recruit them without annoying them like a cookie-cutter recruiter. He doesn't just try to sell the school. He understands maybe some kids don't like the school. He'll agree with you on things and he is for whatever is best for you."

Another key aspect was Muller, Arcidiacono and quarterback commit Blake Rankin of Bloomsburg (Pa.) High being diligent in their recruitment of Denman, but not overbearing.

"They weren't pushing me," he said. "They were just like, ‘Check it out. Obviously, we'd love to have you but we understand if you don't come over.' "

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