Bridgewater (N.J.) Raritan kicker Justin Davidovicz grew up as a Rutgers fan. By September, he may be the first Scarlet Knight to touch a football.
A local preferred walk-on commitment to Rutgers, Davidovicz committed with the plan to compete on kickoff and field goal.
“Field goal is where my strength is to help Rutgers immediately,” Davidovicz said. “I can definitely compete in the kickoff game. I'm going to keep working over the spring to get better. I've grown up watching them. I've always taken notice of their kicking game, especially over the last year.
“ … I'm hoping to come in and compete and have an impact my freshman year.”
Davidovicz silently committed to Rutgers Thursday, but waited until Saturday afternoon to reveal his decision. Local and staff relationships played a key role.
“First of all, I like at lot that it's close to home,” he said. “I have a good support system with my friends and family that goes to games. They'll be supporting me there. It's a great fit. The Big Ten is very big football. Rutgers is a great school for engineering and for business, and those are the two fields I want to study.”
Davidovicz plans to visit Rutgers Feb. 17 for finalized academic plans and a tour of the Livingston campus.
In addition to kickoff and field goals, special teams coordinator Vince Okruch told Davidovicz to expect reps as a backup punter. He played scout team and wide receiver in high school to stay involved and learn as much as possible about the game.
Davidovicz put himself on the Rutgers radar in June during a specialist camp.
“That's where I first met coach Okruch and coach [Chris] Ash.” he said. “I remember first meeting them and talking to them and I like the way they coached. We connected well. We trust each other.”
In Davidovicz, Scarlet Report went to expert Luke Gaddis, who trains kickers and punters for One on One Kicking. Gaddis coached Davidovicz since his freshman year.
“Justin is a different kicker, not your typical flaky kicker that a lot of folks are used to seeing,” Gaddis said. “He has a football-player mentality. He is in the weight room on a regular basais lifting heavy and hard.”
Davidovicz displayed 4.0-plus hangtime in kickoff training and games.
“Field position is important in the Big Ten,” Gaddis said. “He will give Rutgers much-needed touchbacks as well as his big kickoff leg. He brings a big field-goal leg along with consistency. He can handle anything within a 55-yard range in games. I am more than confident with that.”
Pressure situations are a focus for training specialists at One on One Kicking.
“The training he does with me is different than anywhere else in the country,” Gaddis said. “We work on his operation time from snap to hold to kick while he is also receiving field rush. … Justin is more than ready for FBS ball. He has the ability to start right away as a true freshman and the ability to contribute to Rutgers immediately.”