CoachSpeak: Scouting Nakia Griffin

Tenafly (N.J.) tight end Nakia Griffin became the second New Jersey verbal commitment in the Rutgers 2015 class Tuesday after an unofficial visit to campus. Griffin will be a marquee player for Tenafly as a senior and head coach Kurt Hommen breaks down what Rutgers is getting in the Big Ten.

Rutgers commit Nakia Griffin was a do-it-all player for Tenafly (N.J.) as a junior. He will do more of that as a senior, where he projects to start at tight end and linebacker.

His production as a junior and strong camp showing earned him a Rutgers offer, but Griffin is not close to where he can be with a few years of development, said Tenafly coach Kurt Hommen.

"I think he's still very raw to tell you the truth," he said. "I think he's going to get bigger. He has good size at 6-foot-5, but I think he's going to have to put on some weight. He'll be about 225 or 230 by the time he finishes and can get bigger. The next step for him is putting that weight on. I think he has a lot of potential."

Griffin played everything from wide receiver to safety as a junior at Tenafly. As a senior, Hommen plays to narrow him down to linebacker and a multi-tool tight end.

"It's a little early, but we'll move him around," he said. "We'll play him at tight end, and we'll motion him around like an h-back. We'll play him in slot. In defense, he'll start at one of our linebacker spots. That's what we're looking at for him."

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood told Griffin that tight end was the spot for him at Rutgers. That is the perfect fit, Hommen said.

"I think that would be his best spot because he comes off the ball well," Hommen said. "Projecting down the road, that would definitely be his best spot. He's played in a lot of spots for us. He's pretty versatile, and that's the top thing I think he can bring. He's adaptable with anything."

Tenafly struggled with a one-win season in 2013. Griffin took the losing season hard, but served as a key locker-room leader moving into his senior year.

"He works really hard," Hommen said. "He has tremendous work ethic. He takes everything to heart. We weren't really strong this year, and he always felt that he could do more. He's that type of player. He puts it on himself. He works hard every day. He's consistent."

Sending a local player to the Big Ten, and to Rutgers, has Tenafly excited. The last Tenafly prospect to take a scholarship spot at Rutgers was a decade ago when quarterback Jabu Lovelace signed in 2005.

"It's tremendous for us," Hommen said. "We're really happy for him. Obviously it's a Jersey school, and we'd love to see Rutgers do well in the new league. It's going to be a challenge for them. We're happy to have one of our kids get the chance to be able to go there and play.

"…This was the school he wanted to go to all along. He was at their camp last summer, and it was the school he was always focused in on. For him to actually go there and get offered and everything is great for him. We're really happy for him."


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