The Rutgers and Piscataway (N.J.) High relationship was important to new head coach Chris Ash, who proved it with a series of hand-written letters to Dan Higgins and an early offer to Elorm Lumor in January.
Rutgers, with Lumor now enrolled as a defensive end, remains focused in on Piscataway and hosted a top defensive back for the Chiefs Saturday in Nazir James.
“Rutgers was a great experience,” said James, who also has interest from Syracuse and Connecticut. “The coaches told me how they loved the energy. I loved the pace of their defense because I’m a defensive back, and I love how they play. [Rutgers] wants me to come for a live practice and see how I roll my hips and attack the ball.”
James played with Lumor as a sophomore at Piscataway, and enjoyed the site of his former teammate in action for the Scarlet Knights.
“I started for Piscataway as a sophomore and he was the left defensive end, so whatever side he was on, I was right next to him at corner,” James said. “I was very comfortable with him because he was a very explosive defensive end, so I was more confident in my coverages because I knew he was attacking the quarterback. We caught up during the practice and he asked me if I was thinking about coming to Rutgers. He told me it’s really nice there and I’ll like the atmosphere that’s changing.”
James keyed on cornerbacks during the three-hour practice session. He also spoke with cornerbacks coach Aaron Henry, who was a star defensive back under Ash’s defense at Wisconsin.
“It was very cool,” James said. “He talked to me about some stuff I need to work on, and I just took it in. It was a very good talk that I had with him. I loved watching his guys in practice.
“ … I liked how they disguised their coverages. They’ll act like they’re pressing you and then they sag off into a cover two or some type of coverage to keep you off balance. I liked their communication and how they react to the ball.”null