Class of '12 Athlete Opening Eyes

With effort so concentrated on just a few handfuls of 2011 recruites, a lot of attention is falling to building relationships and identifying the top players in the 2012 class. One of the players is Palisades Park (N.J.) athlete Elijah St. Hilaire, who is getting interest from a number of Big East schools. St. Hilaire also shared a nice piece of information that will help his college career.

There is no Thanksgiving game and no state playoffs for Pacific Park (N.J.) High, which means the offseason is well underway.

And so is the offseason workout program for class of 2012 athlete Elijah St. Hilaire is underway as hopes to prove to a number of suitors, including Rutgers, he is worthy of a scholarship offer.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound St. Hilaire is hearing from a number of schools, but is waiting for his initial offer.

"I get mail, the normal stuff, from UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers, Penn State and Pitt," St. Hilair said. "Those are things I see just about every day. Minnesota, Akron, Temple and Duke are (also) sending stuff."

St. Hilaire said he talks regularly with Rutgers receivers coach P.J. Fleck, and has attended a few Scarlet Knights games, and added he may attend next Friday's home finale against Louisville. He also participated in the Schiano Shootout with his team in June, and plans to camp at Rutgers next summer.

"The academics are great, and I know they have a high graduation rate among the athletes," St. Hilaire said.

He also took in games at Penn State, Pittsburgh and Connecticut this season.

"They're telling me about the strength programs," St. Hilaire said. "They tell me they can't wait until I'm a senior so I can take official visits and come to their school so I can hopefully make an impact in the 2012 season.

"I learn a lot about the schools, a lot about the coaches, a lot about the players. When you talk to players, it's easy to connect. And when you see a guy that's 5-9 and about the same weight, you can see there are a lot of people like you, and you can see where you fit in."

This season St. Hilaire multi-tasked on offense, playing a number of positions while amassing 19 touchdowns and 2,200 yards of all-purpose offense. He also played cornerback and returned kicks.

"This season I did a lot of pass blocking for my quarterback, so I think that got better," he said. "Some of my blocking has been lazy last year because I would play both sides of the ball, but this year, almost every play, I was on. Even if the ball wasn't thrown my way, I would not look back and I would keep going until the whistle was blowing."

There is also another added twist to St. Hilaire's recruitment. He is a strong student, and recently check with academic advisors at Palisades Park and learned he is set to graduate in December.

"I'm thinking about my senior …graduating early so I can get on with college and get on the field," he said. "I know that is something I have to talk it over with my family, but that is something I'm thinking about doing."

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