As Rutgers recruits defensive-line prospects for its 2017 class, one new name in the mix is Artis Hemmingway.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder is a defensive end at Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII. He plays on the same defensive line as Dalyn Wade-Perry, the top uncommitted defensive tackle in New Jersey, who holds a Rutgers offer.
Hemmingway said he speaks regularly with defensive coordinator Jay Niemann.
“Coach Niemann, me and him are in constant contact with each other,” Hemmingway said. “We just talk about how the week is going and basically who we got up next and what’s our game scheme and everything like that. So I’m having a good connection with (the Rutgers staff).
“It’s basically keeping me close and keeping me in range and letting me know what’s going on around Rutgers and everything like that, coming to the games.”
Hemmingway has a Nov. 19 visit to Rutgers planned for the Scarlet Knights’ primetime matchup against Penn State. The Syracuse staff visited Hemmingway at Pope John and wants to get him up to campus soon for a visit as well, he said.
A late bloomer, Hemmingway transferred from nearby North Brunswick (N.J.) High to Pope John before the start of his senior year. He holds scholarship offers from Delaware, Maine and Rhode Island.
“(Playing for Rutgers) would mean a lot to me because I’m right around the corner basically,” Hemmingway said. “Most of my family lives in New Jersey — at most, 25 minutes — so they can come see me play at Rutgers. It would just be an honor for (Rutgers) to offer me. I would be very grateful. Come right down the road, family gets to come out, get to represent New Jersey, my hometown, home state. So it would be great.”
Hemmingway looks forward to a meeting with Rutgers coach Chris Ash during his upcoming visit.
“It’s a brand new team, so they’re still getting adjusted to Rutgers,” Hemmingway said. “It’s just a new scheme, new coach. Coach Ash, haven’t really gotten a chance to meet him yet, but it seems like he’s a good guy from what people are telling me and everything.”
Pope John played Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic in the finale of the high-school tripleheader Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium.
“Under the lights at night, it’s a great feeling,” Hemmingway said. “This is my second time playing here actually. I only played here in Pop Warner. But actually competing and getting with one of the best, the best of the best, the people that are ranked in the state, it’s just an honor.”