However, getting to Rutgers was important for Brightwell because he held an offer for a few months but didn't know a lot about the program.
"It was nice," the 6-foot-1, 206-pound Brightwell said. "What stood out to me was them saying they were a family. It wasn't just the coaches saying they were a family, but the players were saying they were a family. You can't win without a family, so that really caught my eye."
Brightwell's recruiter is assistant Anthony Campanile, but this trip gave him a chance to meet with linebacker coach Bob Fraser, defensive coordinator Joe Rossi and coach Kyle Flood.
"I talked to (Flood) the most out of everybody," Brightwell said. "He seems serious about what he's doing, seems like they're passionate about winning a Big Ten championship and they're ready to take on anybody."
The visit was built around meetings with the coaches and light on the academic presentation side. "I got a lot out of it, but I have to visit more so I can check out more," he said. "You don't know everything from one visit, but I saw a lot of things I like."
So what is the lasting memory of the trip?
"Just that everyone is close together because that is what I'm coming from at Paramus Catholic," Bright well said. "It seems like everybody is close there, and that's where I have to live for four years."
A spring return to Rutgers is in the works, and Brightwell is also trying to plan a few long distance trips.
"I really want to visit Michigan State, North Carolina and Virginia," he said. "(Michigan State) is the No. 1 defense in the country so I want to see what they're about, and what they're doing with their program and how their coaches are and how the school is. I want to see how I like it.
"I like (the defensive strength) because I love defense. A team that is based in defense, I really like that."
Brightwell's contact with North Carolina began last week and it was followed up quickly with a verbal offer.
"They have good academics, there is a high graduation rate and everything I hear about …everyone says it's a real good school," Brightwell said. "I'm not just trying to go to school to play football. I'm trying to get an education so after football I have something to do with my life."
As for Virginia, the contact has been sporadic, but Brightwell's parents both attended other schools in Virginia and know about the school.
"They said it is really nice there," he said. "I want to visit and see what it's like. They also have good academics, so that is good."