Byrd: Junior Day "changed my perception"

Timber Creek High (Erial, N.J.) speedster Damiere Byrd was one of the many high-profile players to attend Rutgers' Junior Day, and he said the day "changed my perception" about the school. Byrd talks about what he experienced, a conversation he had with coach Greg Schiano and much more.

They know the football, but what has most of Rutgers' recruits buzzing from Junior Day is the academic presentation of the day-long event.

Count Timber Creek High (Erial, N.J.) receiver Damiere Byrd among the impressed prospects in the class of 2011 who visited Rutgers' campus Saturday.

"I was really impressed with how their program is structured, and how they have so many resources available to the players,'' the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Byrd said. "I was able to see it hands on. They have so many tutors and rules.

"Everybody has to have a certain number of (study) hours per week, and the academic advisors plan out their whole week with the schedules.''

Byrd did not find it overbearing, but rather promising and comforting.

"I like that structure,'' he said. "It makes it easier for players to focus on their academics with their football.''

Byrd also holds from Stanford, South Carolina, Duke and Maryland and is also getting interest from Oregon, Iowa and Northwestern.

But if there was any question as to the Scarlet Knights' seriousness in recruiting the South Jersey speedster, they were answered when Schiano arrived via helicopter Tuesday to check in with the football coach at Timber Creek, where Rutgers linebacker target Quinton Alston also attends.

That was after a meeting Byrd had with Schiano during Junior Day.

"He told me what he thought about me as a player,, and how their program was run, and what they look for in a player and a person,'' Byrd said of the Junior Day discussion. "It definitely changed my perception …from an academic standpoint and the football program.''

Wherever Byrd winds up, he will bring speed. He won the sectional state title in the 55 meters (6.39 seconds) as a sophomore, and finished third in the Meet of Champions with a time of 6.48 seconds.

As a junior on the gridiron, Byrd made 38 catches for 605 yards and two touchdowns, and carried 78 times for 685 yards and eight touchdowns.

Next on Byrd's radar is a trip to South Carolina's Junior Day on Jan. 29.


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