19 in 19: QB Gary Nova

ScarletReport.com's "19 in 19" series, which profiles each of Rutgers' incoming freshman focuses today on Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) quarterback Gary Nova. He spoke to ScarletReport.com about his knowledge of Rugers' new offense, and why he may have an advantage, as well as what he learned during his many spring trips to campus.

Gary Nova will be a Rutgers student in less than two weeks, but he's been studying at the school for months.

Nova, a quarterback from Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), made the most of living less than an hour from the Rutgers campus, attending spring practice when his school schedule allowed, and meeting several times a week with the coaching staff to learn the offense.

"I know most of the formations, starting to pick up more of the pass concepts more and more," Nova said recently. "Every time I (was) over there (for a practice), when I (was) hearing stuff, I was starting to picture in my head what the play looks like, so that was good."

Nova, who is 6-foot-2, 218 pounds, will compete with incoming freshman Mike Bimonte, who will enroll in late June, and Steve Shimko for the backup duties to starter Chas Dodd.

One advantage Nova had was his familiarity with offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti's offense. The two built a strong relationship when Cignetti ran Pittsburgh's offense, and Nova was a Panther pledge.

That changed when Cignetti accepted the Rutgers' offensive coordinator position in late December, and Nova committed two weeks later.

And how similar is the offense Cignetti ran at Pittsburgh compared to what he installed at Rutgers?

"It's the exact same thing," Nova said. "Coach Cignetti said (during spring practice) that I'm probably going to know more than the (current players) because of me being in the meetings at Pitt. They changed the terminology a little bit, but it's good that he didn't change much.

"I feel it's helping me a little bit, but there's so much more of the offense that I have to digest and learn. It's helping, but I still have a lot, a lot, a lot to learn."

Rutgers' first summer session begins May 31. And Nova, along with a handful of other class of 2012 members, will enroll and begin working out with the team. It also means he will be part of the 7-on-7 workout, throwing with receivers and lifting with the team.

But visiting campus during the spring was much more than just practice.

"We'd go and have meetings with a position coach," Nova said. "It would be me and Chas in the room. Coach Cignetti will be with another guy watching film, and we'd just be going over stuff."

In two seasons, Nova went 24-0 as a starter, led Don Bosco Prep to a pair of non-public Group IV state titles, and the national championship in 2009.

The Ironmen finished the 2010 season ranked No. 7 in USA Today's Super 25 as Nova completed 90 of 157 passes for 1,696 yards, 18 touchdowns and three interceptions.

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