Not long ago, the new Rutgers staff issued its first wave of 2018 offers. Monmouth Junction (N.J.) South Brunswick's Justin Shorter was one of the earliest new targets for the staff.
Twenty offers and six months later, the four-star Shorter is one of the hottest local prospects in the 2018 class. New exposure bred excitement for the next big thing out of South Brunswick but Rutgers is as high on his list now as it was when coach Chris Ash first offered.
“Rutgers is a great school, and I'm very excited about them,” he said. “Coach Ash, you can see the changes with the players working harder. They've told me how much the whole team has changed their work ethic.”
Shorter stayed close to home and away from the spotlight during spring evaluation but hopes to expand horizons during June and August. He twice visited Rutgers, and camped at the NIKE Opening Regional in Florham Park, N.J.
Unofficial visits are the next step.
“I'm definitely going to come back to Rutgers for another visit soon,” he said. “I might go and visit Virginia Tech, Penn State and North Carolina. I know Virginia Tech has a great engineering program.”
Shorter was recently a top performer at the Rutgers 7-on-7 passing camp after he exploded onto the scene at the same event in 2015.
“I had lots of fun,” Shorter said. “My whole team was just chilling, getting to know the place and competing. I've been to Rutgers a bunch of times, so it's comfortable.”
Mohamed Sanu, T.J. Taylor and Mohamed Jabbie represent recent South Brunswick ties to Shorter, who also has relationships with Phil Campbell at Pittsburgh and Dontae Strickland at Syracuse.
“I've talked to them, and my goals are just to learn and work harder,” Shorter said. “We lost a lot of seniors, but that doesn't mean our team is going to be worse. They said to just work hard as a whole and get ready for the season.
“They're all saying to stay focused and stay humble.”