Kevin Haslam recently returned from an official visit to Georgia Tech, where the 6-foot-7 lineman thoroughly enjoyed the southern experience. At that time, it was not yet certain whether Rutgers, who had just offered a scholarship would even get an official visit from the northern New Jersey standout. Indeed, it was reported that Haslam had narrowed his choices to two schools: Georgia Tech and South Florida.
But, in these dog days of recruiting where things are more dynamic than a Nor'easter pounding 70 mile per hour winds on the Jersey Shore, there was a surprise twist that had a significant impact on Haslam's recruitment.
"Jabu [Jabulani] Lovelace called me and he told me that he was going through the same thing. He wasn't going to go to Rutgers. He was probably going to go to Syracuse and they convinced him just to visit. He told me that all I had to do was just visit the school and that would be all I need."
Having one verbal commitment that went through an almost equivalent recruiting process proved to be a boon for Rutgers, which landed Haslam just nine days after officially offering a scholarship.
And Lovelace was indeed right. Haslam decided to trip to Rutgers and wound up staying close to home and committed to his state University.
"The trip was really nice. Jean Beljour was my host and he's a really cool guy. I got to meet Mike Teel and a lot of the other guys on the team. I really like the people here. I just feel that I fit in really well here and that was the reason why I decided to stay at Rutgers," stated Haslam.
The OL prospect was all set for a visit to NC State on the 21st of this month. Instead, he chose to trip to Georgia Tech, where he seemed to all but make up his mind.
Rutgers came on to the picture relatively recently for Haslam. Coach Rizzi called the Haslam household informing them that an offer was being made, and the fax and required paperwork arrived on the 21st. One would think that if a school arrives on the scene at such a late time, that their chances of landing the prospect would be marginal, at best.
However, Haslam was not unfamiliar with Rutgers.
"At first I didn't think about RU too much because they hadn't really recruited me. But I knew about them because I had been to their camp the last two years. At first, I was going to go to South Florida but when the offer came I decided to think about it." And Jabu's personal recruiting story, significantly similar to Kevin's were just enough to get the big man to take a long hard look at his state school.
In light of recent occurrences whereby schools decided to leave certain affiliations behind for other conferences, Rutgers fans may derive particular pleasure that Haslam selected the Scarlet Knights over three ACC schools.
"Big names aren't really that important to me," indicated Haslam. When NC State first started to call me I was telling everybody I was going to NC State. But then as time passed on and I got more familiar with college recruiting, I found it's more like a business, it's not really personable."
And that, indicated Haslam, was the primary reason why he selected Rutgers.
"The people, are the reason why I decided to come to Rutgers. And the coaches, Coach Schiano, and Coach Rizzi. And the weight room, the new Hale Center, it all contributed."
In the weight room, Haslam, a giant of a human being, has a 285-pound bench press to go along with a squat of 410-pounds. Haslam also totaled had 40 pancake blocks on the year.
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