Zihir Lacewell's junior season at Staten Island (N.Y.) Tottenville begins a pivotal year in his recruitment. Lacewell holds offers from Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Temple and could be in line for more.
A top prospect, ranked No. 179 in the Scout 300 for the class of 2018, Lacewell said the new Rutgers staff made a solid impression in the spring and the summer.
“I like the way that (the new Rutgers coaching staff) welcome(s) me into the school,” said Lacewell, who alluded to the culture change installed by head coach Chris Ash. “We sat down and had a talk. I went to the barbecue (in July). … I like the way they handle things.”
Lacewell is a two-way player for Tottenville. He lines up at wide receiver on offense and plays safety and linebacker on defense.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder projects as an outside linebacker at the next level, but said embraces the challenge of playing wherever he is needed.
“I play a little bit of everything,” he said.
On top of his current offers, Lacewell said Maryland and Notre Dame are also in contact.
Pittsburgh and Rutgers are the top two visit destinations for Lacewell in the fall., he said.
“Pitt wants me to come to one of their home games,” he said. “Rutgers wants me to come to a home game. Pretty much that’s it, but more schools are going to come. … I feel like it’s going to be my biggest year.”
While Rutgers lies closer to Lacewell compared to Pittsburgh, he has no concrete plans visit either as of now.
“I would say (Rutgers is easier to visit because it is a close drive),” Lacewell said. “But I want to make the decision (on where to visit) when it’s time to make decisions.”
Lacewell's recruitment sparked in spring evaluation when Rutgers identified him early as a new staff.
Lacewell landed a verbal scholarship offer shortly before teammate Tim Barrow verbally committed to Rutgers in May. Rutgers continued its aggressive recruitment of Staten Island last week when assistant Bill Busch visited for Lacewell's game against Curtis and fellow 2018 standout Amad Anderson.