Bowers to Rutgers as Preferred Walk On

Rutgers strengthened itself on special teams Friday evening with the preferred walk-on commitment of Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic punter John Bowers. Rated the top punter in the Northeast by former Scarlet Knight Lee McDonald's special teams academy, Bowers broke it down with Scout.

Special teams positions get competitive quickly at Rutgers, and Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic senior John Bowers threw his name into the mix Friday night with a verbal commitment.

Bowers committed to Rutgers as a preferred walk-on, and has his sights set on a position battle with Joe Roth, Tim Gleeson and the rest of the Scarlet Knight punters in 2015.

“I think I’m ready,” Bowers said. “When I was at Bergen Catholic, I had to compete for my spot with three other kids who were pretty good. I won the spot, and I know what I have to do to win a spot. I feel like I have what it takes to do it.”

A former teammate of sophomore receiver John Tsimis, Bowers cited state pride as a reason for picking Rutgers.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Bowers said. “I had opportunities to play at schools like Delaware and Toledo, but it was important for me to stay in state and be a part of something like Rutgers.”

Bowers works with former Rutgers kicker Lee McDonald, whose New Jersey based specialist academy ranked him as the No. 1 punter in the Northeast.

The 6-foot-1 punter camped at Rutgers in the summer under the eyes of coordinator Bob Fraser, but credits graduate assistant Rocco DiMeco as the leader in his recruitment.

“I started talking to him probably a month-and-a-half ago and he started recruiting me really hard,” Bowers said. “We have a good relationship. I was out for their camp with coach Fraster. [DiMeco] wasn’t a part of the staff then, but he got me talking to them again and I can’t wait to play for them.”

Bowers broke the news Friday evening on social media. He appreciated the instant reaction from friends and other Rutgers recruits.

“It’s great,” Bowers said. “You can see that this is one big family, and I’m grateful to be a part of it. I just can’t wait.”

Bowers averaged 37 yards per punt with a long of 59 yards as a senior at Bergen Catholic.

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