OT Lumpkin Discusses Rutgers Commitment

Rutgers secured a highly-prized New Jersey offensive tackle for the class of 2011 when he gave a non-binding oral commitment to Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano during an on-campus meeting Thursday night. Afterward, Lumpkin told ScarletReport.com why he committed, what he thinks about Rutgers, and how actively he will recruit teamamtes Savon Huggins and Sheldon Royster to Piscataway.

The more offensive tackle Keith Lumpkin visited the Rutgers, the more he realized it was the perfect school for him.

The clincher came in the opening hour of last Friday morning, when after partaking in a scrimmage at Camden Catholic, he and St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) teammate Savon Huggins showed up at halftime of Rutgers' 31-0 season-opening win against Norfolk State.

They didn't leave the Hale Center until 1 a.m. after speaking with Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. Lumpkin's unofficial visit this Thursday was much shorter, but it ended with the news he gave Rutgers a non-binding oral commitment to join the 2011 recruiting class.

"I just felt that I wanted to get it over with before the season, so I felt that this was the best time," Lumpkin said. "I felt at home when I went and visited there a few times, I liked the environment, I liked what the coaches were saying, I talked to some players, and they said the exact same thing."

Lumpkin is a 6-foot-8, 285-pound left tackle who is the first St. Peter's Prep player to accept a scholarship in Schiano's tenure. It was a source of frustration for Rutgers fans, especially since the Marauders turn out a lot of Division I talent.

"(St. Peter's Prep) coach (Rich) Hansen was telling me that," Lumpkin said. "It means a lot that (Rutgers fans) think highly of St. Peter's, and that with me going there, I hope I can make everybody proud."

Two weeks ago Lumpkin trimmed his list of suitors to Rutgers, Pittsburgh, North Carolina and South Carolina. He was going to add a fifth school and make official visits, but several people close to him, including Hansen, pushed for him to go to Rutgers.

Now, Lumpkin will spent his senior season trying to win an elusive state title while talking to a pair of highly-recruited teammates in Huggins and safety Sheldon Royster.

Huggins released his top five programs – Rutgers, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Florida and Pittsburgh -- to Scout.com earlier in the day, and Hansen said Royster scheduled a few official visits, including one to Miami in October and on to Rutgers later in the year.

"Now, I can try and recruit them as well," Lumpkin said. "They're both like my brothers and we always hang around and everything. I'm not going to force them if they don't want to go there, I don't want to drill it in them.

"I'm going to leave it up to them, but I'm going to keep saying little things to them and make them think about it, and that we can all play together at the next level."

Lumpkin added he will continue to deliver the message Schiano gave to he and Huggins during last week's visit.

"We were watching ESPN and watching some of the highlights of other games," Lumpkin said. "We talked about how we could help Rutgers' program and help them get to the level of play they want to be at."

Not lost on Lumpkin is the fact St. Peter's opens the season Saturday against St. Joe's of Philadelphia at his future home, Rutgers Stadium.

"I'll be even more pumped up to play and defend my house," Lumpkin said.

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