Quartucci readying for January enrollment

Hamilton West High offensive lineman Frank Quartucci, a Rutgers commit, added night school classes to his already busy work load so he can graduate early and enroll at Rutgers in January. Quartucci talks about where the idea came from, who shot it down the first time, and the dedication needed to accomplish it. He also gives his thoughts on this season's Rutgers team.

Seven hours of school began at 7:30 a.m., and football practice didn't conclude until 6 p.m. But afterward, it still wasn't time for Frank Quartucci to catch the late bus, or drive home for a big meal.

Night school was next on the agenda. English and health classes didn't end until 9 p.m., and by then Quartucci was experiencing a few uneasy feelings.

"Exhausted, hungry,'' he said.

Such is life since the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Rutgers commit, an offensive lineman from Hamilton (N.J.) West High, decided he would enroll in college in January, getting a jump on college life and also a handful of other offensive linemen in the 2010 recruiting class the Scarlet Knights will welcome to campus in the summer.

Those are the reasons Quartucci doesn't mind the long days and nights.

"I know it's for a good cause,'' he said. "I'm going to get a head start on some of the other linemen that they're recruiting. If you look at (Rutgers right guard) Art Forst, (receiver) Mohamed Sanu, all the people that enrolled early, they're doing well.''

The idea was brought to Quartucci on a pair of occasions by his recruiting coach, Rutgers special teams coach Robb Smith.

The first time the subject was broached, shortly after he committed in June, he took the idea to an assistant principal at Hamilton West.

"She said, ‘Most likely, it can't be done because you have to take night school classes, and you probably wouldn't want to do that.' ‘'Quartucci said. "So we dropped that, and then (Smith) came up with the idea again in October. So, then I said, ‘You know what? Let me go to the principal.'

"And that is when we officially got it done. So, I'm taking night school classes now to get enough credits to graduate.''

Quartucci has about two weeks remaining of night classes at Hamilton West, but he is unsure when his last day of regular school will be.

But he knows it will not be easy saying goodbye to his friends.

"This is part of growing up. It will come sooner or later,'' Quartucci said. "I'll still be able to walk with my class at graduation and still go to the senior prom, so that's a benefit. It's a part of growing up, moving on and meeting people.''

Quartucci was able to push through the academic work much like he approached the season. The Hornets finished 4-6, but his focus is on the the future.

He played tackle and guard at Hamilton, but he will play either center or guard with the Scarlet Knights.

"We just couldn't get anything rolling,'' Quartucci said. "I'm confident that our underclassmen that we have can turn the tradition of Hamilton West around.''

"We had times when we were one of the most dangerous offenses in the county, and then one person doesn't do their job and the whole offense falls apart. We never got on sync for a complete four quarters, which is what we needed.''

Even with the expanded schedule, Quartucci kept a close eye on Rutgers.

He attended the wins against Florida International and South Florida, and said he will be in attendance for Saturday's finale against West Virginia.

"They've had a couple of tough losses, but the biggest thing I look at is when they have the tough losses, they bounce back,'' he said. "They don't give up on one another, and that's huge. It shows they're a complete team, a family, and they don't give up and find a way to get it done.''

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