"Rutgers probably just gained about 80 fans"

St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) tight end Michael Giacone announced he committed to Rutgers, it meant much more than one player coming to Rutgers.

WESTFIELD, N.J. – Rutgers didn't just gain a tight end when St. Peter's Prep's (Jersey City, N.J.) Michael Giacone announced his commitment Friday at his home.

The Scarlet Knights gained a cheering section.

"I would have gone anywhere (to see Giacone play), but it's great for our family," said Giacone's dad, Michael Sr. "We have a huge amount of family here. Rutgers probably just gained about 80 fans. Everyone on both sides of the family lives within 20 miles of each other, and all in New Jersey and they're all sports fans. It's special."

Giacone cut his list of more than a dozen suitors to Rutgers, Connecticut, Maryland and Boston College, but it was his relationship with the Scarlet Knights' staff that made the difference.

"I think it came down to him feeling comfortable with the whole staff at Rutgers," Giacone Sr. said. "There were some really good choices he had, very difficult, and it went right down to the wire."

Another factor in the decision was the high number of high-profile New Jersey players signing and committing to Rutgers the last few seasons.

"I think he's very excited about the possibility of all the top kids from New Jersey going to Rutgers and doing something special," Giacone Sr. said. "I think that was a little bit of a factor that made him consider Rutgers, but I stressed to him not to make your choice based on that. What may be good for other kids, may not be good for you. If that's where you want to go, that's fine, but if you're just going to go there for that reason, you shouldn't go there."

Rutgers offered Giacone during an April meeting with coach Greg Schiano, It was his fourth, after the 6-foot-5, 242-pounder grabbed offers from UCF, Indiana and Connecticut.

"Once they made him the offer, they really stressed how much they wanted him, how much they needed him, how they were going to use him," Giacone Sr. said. "I'm very comfortable. I had a lot of nice conversations with coach Schiano.

"I think we're from similar backgrounds and I connected well with him. He's got a great reputation for making sure the kids graduate and keeping the kids in line."

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