It runs in the family for the Wynns

If you think the Rutgers DL has it good these days, just wait until the days of the patrolling giants, when batted balls at the LOS begin to rain on the opposition like a Florida mid-afternoon summer thunderstorm. And front and center among those defenders of the secondary will be 6-foot-6 and now 255-pound Desmond Wynn.

It runs in the family. Competitive athletics are nothing new to the Wynns. Desmond's father, Mr. Wynn, played for Delaware State of the MEAC Conference. And he went up against some pretty stiff competition too.

"I used to play for Delaware State," stated Mr. Wynn. "I used to play with John Taylor among others."

It was at that point that, as a lifelong Giants fan I had to catch my breath. The John Taylor, of the San Franciso 49ERS?

"Yep, that's the one," replied Mr. Wynn rather casually, as if he'd met the disbelief in my voice plenty of times prior.

But it didn't end there.

Among some of the better ones he recalls is an individual that Rutgers fans may carry in their memories as well. A certain coach ... on a certain staff.

"I actually played against Coach Demarest also. I don't remember going up against him, but he remembers the game that we played in. It was a very cold day, that I remember."

Certainly, there is athleticism in the family, and not just first generation either. "His pop-pop (the pleasantly, endearing term Mr. Wynn uses to refer to Desmond's grandfather) was a semi-pro baseball player back during the Negro Leagues," recalled Mr. Wynn.

Currently, the family torch is in the hands of two. Desmond's first cousin, David Crocker plays Arena Football for the Georgia Force. At 5-foot-11 and 205-pounds, Crocker performs double duty as a DB and WR. And the other is, of course, Desmond, a pledge to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football family seemingly eons ago but in reality just this past summer.

"You know, Desmond hasn't been playing football all that long. He started playing basketball and I always thought his sport was football. I thought he was raw, but I thought he had what it took," stated a clearly proud father.

One would think that the sight of a 6-foot-5 (at the time) marauder searching for QBs to eat for lunch would have been enough to attract college recruiters to the Wynn's doorstep. But it wasn't.

"I started [the recruiting process] by sending tapes around to schools. It all started last year against Connecticut," began Mr. Wynn, as I honestly sat back listening intently knowing that, although the story had a wonderful ending, there'd be hiccups along the way.

Mr. Wynn recalls watching the Connecticut game with his son, and he remembers asking Desmond his thoughts about the possibility of playing at Rutgers. Just a passing fancy at that point, but it would soon come closer to reality as among the dozens of tapes sent out the following calendar year, there was but one school that replied the very next day.

Not two weeks after. Not 2 days after - but the next day.

"When they got back to us they didn't know where we were from. What I did was that I forgot to put his High School on the tape," stated Mr. Wynn.

While Rutgers had the Wynn's contact information, they had no idea how local, regional, or national Desmond was.

"I was talking to Coach Susan once we got that straightened out and he said he'd go watch the tape and get back to us within the half-hour if they were interested. He called back."

At an imposing 6-foot-6 and 255-pounds, Desmond continues to train hard during the off-season.

"He's gotten bigger from lifting. He's been in the weightroom lifting, faithfully. He understands what he is up against [at Rutgers]. I said 'if you want to play [there], you've got to work.'"

And Desmond has been doing just that - recently hand-timed at a 4.78 and 4.8-electronic in the 40, the Delaware 1st Team All-State performer also achieved a new personal best with an impressive 500-pound squat a few days ago. To that add a 360-pound bench press - not a max though. That's what he works out with.

"Now I can call myself a Scarlet Knight," stated Desmond as he wasrecalling his passing thoughts during last wednesday's signing day festivities. "It was just a sign of relief that I don't have to wait anymore. My mom, she was really happy, she was crying during my signing. My dad, he was very happy also."

Rutgers Recruiting Coordinator Joe Susan recruited Desmond to Rutgers and the pair hit it off from day one.

"He has a deep love for the game," stated Desmond, in reference to Coach Susan. "And he has a deep love for the players and our families. What I see in him is who he is, a really good guy."

With the torch now in the hands of Desmond, the young man from Delaware, a touch on the quiet side, extremely respectful and quite humble, is taking the necessary steps to prepare himself for the next level. Running track and competing in the 200-m and 400-m and perhaps in the shot-put, Desmond will continue working on his speed, agility and strength until his reporting date at his new home.

"I'm just proud Rutgers took an interest in him. Because it was all done on the will of God, and if there wasn't a God, this doesn't happen," concluded Mr. Wynn.

By bringing in Desmond, Rutgers continues the tradition of bringing in proven winners, but also quality and humble men that will become tomorrow's leaders.

Matei may be reached at

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