One loss, or multiple losses, is not enough to scare off two offensive line commitments in the Rutgers 2017 class.
Brothers Micah Clark and Jamaal Beaty of Holmdel (N.J.) St. John Vianney watched a Rutgers 48-13 loss to Washington without concern for the future. They arrived the next week for coach Chris Ash's first career victory and hugged half the team in pregame.
“I know they've lost, but not everything is going to come as fast as everyone wants it,” said Clark, who ranks as New Jersey's top prospect in 2017. “Honestly, I understand that. I'm not going to leave my team when everything hits the fan or goes wrong. I'm not like that. I'm going to stick with my team and tough it out. We have to be tough and grind it out and fight through these years. If we lose when I get up there, so be it. We come in the next week and work even harder to win the next one.”
The commitment goes both ways for Rutgers and the St. John Vianney duo.
Clark and Beaty debuted as seniors last week in a blowout victory over Matawan (N.J.) Regional. Offensive and defensive line coaches AJ Blazek and Shane Burnham came in support the night before kickoff against Howard.
“It means a lot to us that they're out there for our first game,” Beaty said. “It shows we're a part of their family.”
Burnham and Blazek are both close to the family, and waved to mom before a departure to prepare for Howard.
“That's like our family,” Clark said.
St. John Vianney's home opener came in 90-degree heat. Clark played almost every snap at right tackle and defensive end. Beaty mirrored him as the starting left guard and a key defensive tackle in the rotation.
“Getting ready starts at the beginning of the week,” Beaty said. “We know it's going to be hot, so you have to hydrate. It doesn't happen in the last two days. You have to start up five days before game. We've heard [Rutgers strength and conditioning coach Kenny] Parker talk to us about that every time, and … we definitely took it to heart.”
The result was a 31-0 victory for Clark, Beaty and St. John Vianney.
“I'm very proud of my guys right now,” Clark said. “We're a young team but we have a lot of seniors graduating. Everyone bought in and played as a team. Everyone did their individual jobs and when they do that, it all forms into one true team. I'm proud of them.”