Announcing his decision live on MSG Varsity with host Mike Quick, Barnwell chose Rutgers over finalist Tennessee. He checks in as the No. 26 cornerback in the class of 2013 and is a top-10 prospect out of the Garden State.
"It does seem like the best fit," said Piscataway head coach Dan Higgins. "I have to give [Rutgers] a lot of credit because of how hard they recruited him. [Defensive coordinator] Robb Smith has been recruiting him for a long time. As an assistant under Greg Schiano, Robb had a great rapport with Nadir. When Robb moved up the food chain when Greg left, it just seemed like even more influence on Nadir."
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete plays quarterback and defensive back for Piscataway Township High School, but will come in as a cornerback at Rutgers. He comes from the same high school as former star offensive lineman and first-round draft pick Anthony Davis and fifth-year senior defensive end Marvin Booker.
"I think he's best as a corner, not that he can't play offense, but I just think it's what he does best," Higgins said. "I just think that he has a competitive nature about him with his athleticism and physicality. I just think he's a natural fit at corner, especially the way Rutgers likes to play corner. I think he's a great fit there because he prefers a bump-and-run style. He likes to be physical and you see a lot of that at Rutgers."
Barnwell is the first four-star prospect in the class to commit to Rutgers and the fourth defensive back. He can join former teammate Jawaun Wynn on next year's roster.
An injury last month has kept Barnwell off the field this season, but he is expected to make his debut in early October. Barnwell will take limited reps in practice this week and is on pace to return for Piscataway's key October clash with South Brunswick and Rutgers commit T.J. Taylor, Higgins said.
Like five-star 2012 defensive lineman Darius Hamilton, Barnwell announced his Rutgers commitment live at MSG Varsity's studios on Long Island during "A Quick 60."
"It's a huge get for Rutgers for a number of reasons, and the biggest two are he's really talented and he's a good kid," FOXSportsNEXT recruiting analyst Brian Dohn said. "When you watch, he there are always a few 'Wow' moments when he does something very few players can do. His body control is phenomenal, he can change direction very well and he accelerates. I also love he desire to compete. He was supposed to show at a Rutgers camp just to hang out, but he decided to throw on his cleats and compete because he couldn't take sitting and watching."