Is Byrd Warming to RU?

Timber Creek Regional (Erial, N.J.) four-star receiver Damiere Byrd previously said he wanted to go to a warm weather school, but Friday he took an unofficial visit to Rutgers. He talked with coach Greg Schiano and met a new member of the staff for the first time. So, what is Byrd's take on things now? Is he warming to the idea of playing in a colder climate? Or, was it a courtesy visit?

Four-star Timber Creek Regional High (Erial, N.J.) receiver Damiere Byrd may be softening his stance on leaving the state to go to college, which could bode well for Rutgers.

Previously, Byrd discussed his desire to play in a warmer climate, but after Friday's unofficial visit to Rutgers, he made a strong statement about the possibility of playing close to home.

"Do I care if I go away? No,'' Byrd said. "Do I care if I stay home? No. Right now it really doesn't matter where I'm at. I want to find a place that fits me, and a place where I could see myself spending the next four years of my life there.''

Byrd's visit to Rutgers also gave him a chance to meet with coach Greg Schiano again, and experience his first face-to-face meeting with receivers coach P.J. Fleck.

The message from Schiano was straightforward.

"He said he would love to have me on the team, and that he wants to keep me in-state, for me to go to a place that's a good fit for me, and that Rutgers is a fit for me,'' Byrd said. "Being in state would be nice. I'm only an hour away from Rutgers, and it will give an opportunity for my parents to come to just about every game, and that would be great.''

Although Rutgers assistant Robb Smith is Byrd's primary recruiter, Fleck is also involved in the process since the Scarlet Knights are recruiting Byrd, who plays multiple postions, as a receiver.

"I got to meet coach Fleck, and I got to see how they play, and how they practice and I definitely walked away impressed,'' Byrd said. "Coach Fleck is a good guy. He's definitely high octane, and he's very passionate about what he does.

"He was wired all day. I like coaches the way he is. The way he is, he'll make sure you come out and want to practice.''

In watching the practice, interaction between the coaches and the players, like it is for most recruits, was at the forefront of what he Byrd wanted to see.

"At practice I look at how the coaches interact with their players,'' he said, "and how they keep dibs on when they're doing something wrong, or doing something right.''

Byrd, who holds double digits offers, including one from Rutgers, said he will attend West Virginia's spring game later this month and travel to Florida in May.

But will he make a return trip to Rutgers this spring?

"I'm not sure,'' Byrd said. "It's only an hour away, so I could probably get up there again if I really needed to.''


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