From nearby Perth Amboy, N.J., defensive end Marcus Valdez is a life-long Rutgers follower.
So an offer Friday for the Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep rising senior was a major event, especially after his conversation with coach Chris Ash.
“I called coach Ash and we talked for a little and then he broke the news,” Valdez said. “He said they wanted to offer me. He told me other schools and other people will tell me I'm undersized and he said he doesn't care. He said he's seen my tape and that's more than enough. He loves it.”
Valdez describes himself as growing up Rutgers, including his older brother's time as a student in New Brunswick. Valdez attended multiple games as a kid, including Eric LeGrand's 2010 injury and the 2012 loss to Louisville.
“It's so cool to have this offer,” he said. “Going to college 20 minutes away would be great. All of my friends are here and my family. I know a lot of people that are Rutgers season ticket holders.
“... I like how Rutgers is close to home. My brother went there, so I know they have good academics. He's really smart. It's always live when I visited to see my brother. I've been watching since I was young.”
Valdez is one of four Don Bosco Ironmen with a Rutgers verbal scholarship offer, and he is also close with former center Mike Maietti.
“He's heading to Rutgers pretty soon,” Valdez said. “We're good friends. I talked to him after I got the offer and he was excited too.”
Valdez hopes to decide before the start of his senior season, and has no leaders.