The Rutgers coaching staff hit the road south immediately after official visits concluded Sunday on campus. The result was a late-night offer to Camden (N.J.) Catholic athlete Tyree Rodgers after an in-home visit.
Rutgers visited Rodgers, who committed to Old Dominion as a quarterback, at the cornerback position. Head coach Chris Ash and staff want to get Rodgers on campus for a an official visit this weekend.
“Old Dominion is the school he committed to and he felt very strongly about that commitment,” said Camden Catholic head coach Nick Strom. “Rutgers being a new staff and being in our backyard here, they came in at the 11th hour and came through with an offer for him. It’s a different position, obviously a bit of a different level of football.”
Rodgers threw for 1,528 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior to go along with four scores on the ground, 16 tackles and a team-high five interceptions.
“He was probably a little under-recruited as a corner,” Strom said. “Because of his value to us a quarterback I didn’t play him as much as a corner, maybe stupidly, didn’t play him on defense until his senior year. We had a lot of talented players, so we didn’t feel it wasn’t necessary.
“He wasn’t really on people’s radar as a defensive player. What he showed this year at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, he can match up with some of the best receivers and we played some good ones. We played [Hasise] DuBois up at DePaul. We played Lonnie Moore.”
Rutgers likes Rodgers as a cornerback, Strom said, but his versatility and size could line him up in multiple spots.
“Being at quarterback helped him in the secondary this year and I know it will help him in college,” Strom said. “He’ll have an idea of what kids are trying to do. He’s a smart kid. He’s a good student and he’s a smart football player. He’s a quiet kid, but he comes across to coaches pretty well.
“He’s a lot more of a lead-by example kid. He’s very quiet. He’s somebody that, every time we broke down in the locker room, he broke it down. He was the only junior voted as a captain last year and he was a captain again this year. In so many ways, we went as he went. He’s always out at practice. He wasn’t one of those guys you had to get on to practice with the monotony of football. If your best guy is doing that, it makes it a lot easier for the other guys to get in line.”
Rutgers has two coaches in contact with Strom and the Camden Catholic staff, which plans to send multiple prospects to the Feb. 13 junior day event.
“I’ve met the corners coach [Aaron] Henry,” Strom said. “I’ve talked with coach Ash probably three times. I’m impressed in their presentation and their philosophy. I had the chance to talk to coach Henry for a couple of hours the one day. I think they’re going to be very successful in this state if they hold the course, if they’re able to continue this.”