RU Benefits, Purdue takes a Hit

Purdue's recruiting class, once considered one of the best in the nation, has all but vanished -- and Rutgers and Xavier (Xavier?) are the beneficiaries. The Musketeers, in fact, could be one of the most improved teams in the country.

One of the nation's top guards in the 2006 class, Dee Dee Jernigan has signed with Rutgers University in the late signing period, completing what is one of the nation's best recruiting classes for the Scarlet Knights. Jernigan was released from her original letter of intent with Purdue after Kristy Curry and her coaching staff departed.

Jernigan brings her strong 5-11 frame to a team known for playing tough physical defense under head coach C. Vivian Stringer. She can play both guard spots thanks to her size and quickness. Jernigan joins four other top 50 players, according to rankings compiled by HoopGurlz.com and Full Court Press - Epiphany Prince, Myia McCurdy, Brittany Ray and Rashidat Junaid – in a class for Rutgers rivaled only by USC and Stanford out West.

"We are delighted to have Dee Dee join our Scarlet Knight family," Stringer said. "She is an outstanding guard who has the ability to penetrate and kick out, as well as shoot the outside jumper. Dee Dee is extremely quick, and she possesses a natural feel for the game. She is just a very special person, and we are anxious and excited to have her join us here at Rutgers."

Jernigan was a part of the nation's two biggest senior events in the McDonald's All-American Game and Women's Basketball Coaches Association all-star game. She made Parade Magazine's All-American third team and was ranked in the Top 25 by Scout.com. In her tenure at East Chicago Central High School (East Chicago, Ind.) she earned Associated Press all-state honors as a junior and senior.

Amber Harris, who also reneged on her commitment to Purdue after Curry left, signed a letter of intent to play her college ball at Xavier.

Harris sent a buzz throughout the college recruiting world when she was rumored to be available. Harris, Scout.com's No. 4 player in the 2006 class, had teams across the country recounting their scholarships in hopes of landing her amazing talents.

At 6-6, Harris has ability to play multiple positions and there wasn't a coach in the country that wouldn't have made room for her. Some consider Harris to be the most overall talented player in the Class of 2006, but her work ethic has been questioned. She appeared to clash with coaches at the McDonald's All-American Game and did not see significant minutes in that showcase.

Harris also considered Rutgers, which is where Jernigan, ranked No. 21 by Scout.com, will play next year.

Jernigan's arrival creates quite a logjam at guard for the Scarlet Knights, as they now have Jernigan, McDonald's all-American Epiphanny Prince, recruit Brittany Ray and returners Matee Ajavon and Essence Carson all competing for playing time at two, or maybe three, spots.


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