Overstreet discusses Rutgers commitment

When Rutgers landed its fourth commitment in a two-day span in Jefferson High of Tampa, Fla., linebacker Fred Overstreet, it came as somewhat of a surprise since he was an under-the-radar recruit. He will sign with the Scarlet Knights on Wednesday during a ceremony at his school, but before that time arrived he spoke about why he chose Rutgers, and what he likes about the school.

Ever wonder who is watching those Rutgers commercials – ya' know, those public relations spots spliced once or twice into a game?

Well, Rutgers' latest linebacker commit, Jefferson High of Tampa (Fla.) product Fred Overstreet paid attention to it, and it led to him giving Rutgers coach Greg Schiano a non-binding oral commitment.

"What piqued my interest is their commercials about their alumni,'' said Overstreet, who visited Rutgers over the weekend. "They were in the St. Petersburg Bowl right here in St. Pete at Tropicana Field, and I watched it. And they would play USF, and I would watch.''

In discussing his decision to chose Rutgers, the 6-foot-1, 218-pound Overstreet said academics were easily the top issue.

He knows Rutgers was ranked third in the Academic Progress Rate (APR) last year, and as a budding accountant, he is focused on getting his degree.

"They've got a good academic support system for their student athletes, and that's what I like about them,'' Overstreet said. "I like how they care about their players. They're not going to let you just flunk out. They're going to get on you before your grades slip up.''

But don't get the idea Overstreet isn't also excited about football.

Asked why he was so enthusiastic about academics, he quickly quipped, "You can't play football without the grades.''

Overstreet had early offers from Minnesota, Purdue and Syracuse, but his coach, Michael Fenton said, a few of those offers were pulled when schools starting filling up their recruiting classes.

Meanwhile, when some schools were pulling back, Rutgers began recruiting Overstreet with more fervor

"Coach Schiano told me I came out of nowhere,'' Overstreet said. "He said he didn't even know about me at first. We started talking not too long ago.''

Eye-popping statistics helped as Overstreet averaged more than 12 tackles a game. He also caught 17 passes, but there is no mistaking where he will play.

"I'm more effective at linebacker,'' Overstreet said. "I had 160 tackles last year. As a tight end, I didn't really do anything. I played mostly middle linebacker, but I also played on the outside.''

He said he will play either middle or weak side linebacker at Rutgers, and still isn't sure why he was under the radar as a recruit.

"I really don't know why,'' Overstreet said. "I only went to one camp, and that was the Florida State camp. And I went to one session.''

Overstreet grew up a Florida fan, but felt at home from the beginning of his visit to Rutgers.

"The first day we had tours of the campus, I met all the coaches, and then we had dinner,'' Overstreet said. "The second day we went to the ESPN Zone, ate there and played games in the arcade. And the last day we had a meeting with the head coach, and I felt that was the best place for me.''

Even with the change in climate?

"I don't mind the cold,'' Overstreet said while laughing. "Soon as I start running around, I'll warm up.''

Overstreet said he will sign his letter of intent during a ceremony at Jefferson High on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

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