Entering the East Coast Elite Football Camp at Rutgers Saturday, Travis Tolomei had some interest but zero offers to show for it.
But after his breakthrough performance at the Scarlet Knights’ first on-campus event of the summer, the class of 2017 defensive end now has eyes on him from schools all over the Northeast.
Earning his first pair of offers from Lafayette and Towson in the aftermath of the camp, Tolomei is now on the radar for a slew of Division-I programs — including Rutgers.
“I feel like it was a great opportunity to get better,” Tolomei said of the camp. “I feel like I learned a lot and I got a lot of eyes on me, so that’s a lot better because recruiters were talking to me and saying they wanted to see what I could do at camp versus what I can do on film and I feel like it matched up. I took advantage of it and showed them what I can do.”
In an under-the-radar football program at Hershey (Pa.) Milton, Tolomei has had to put his best foot forward to get his name out there and get recruited.
Rutgers defensive coordinator Jay Niemann visited the area during the spring evaluation period,. He met Milton Hershey head coach Jeff Boger, and discussed the idea of giving a longer look at one of Rutgers’ camps in the summer.
The suggestion paid off.
Tolomei stood out among the prospects in Piscataway with one-on-one instruction from defensive line coach Shane Burnham and an in-depth conversation with Niemann at the end of the afternoon.
“I’ve spoken to the defensive coordinator (Niemann) before,” Tolomei said. “... He just said that he wanted to see me at camp before they throw any offers out, and he’s called me and stuff like that.
“The defensive line coach (Burnham), he’s a character, yeah. He’s got a certain attitude about him.”
Tolomei said he also spoke with coaches from Maine and New Hampshire at the camp.
As for the rest of the summer camp circuit, Tolomei said he planned on attending Lauren’s First and Goal Camp at Lafayette, where Penn State coach James Franklin was present as a guest speaker. He heads to Temple for the Owls’ camp Saturday in Philadelphia.
Given the new recognition and upcoming opportunities for more, Tolomei’s stock grew.
And if it one day materializes in the form of a Rutgers offer, Tolomei said it would be a product of his hard work finally paying off.
“It would be just a great opportunity,” he said. “I feel like I haven’t had the exposure as a small school in a big area, so it feels good to get the exposure and it would feel good to get what I feel like I might deserve as the good athlete I feel like I am and I feel like I showed I have and I feel like it’s just … been a long time coming.”