Campolatanno Ready to be an Ambassador

Rutgers' first commitment of the 2011 class isn't about to sit back and relax now that his decision is made. Bound Brook (N.J.) High linebacker Andrew Campolattano said his next order of business is to speak with other recruits about joining him to build the class. Campolattano also talks about his decision to pursue football rather than wrestling in college, and what drew him to Rutgers.

Bound Brook (N.J.) High middle linebacker Andrew Campolattano acknowledges he will miss wrestling, but his love for football and his relationship with coach Greg Schiano were determining factors in him becoming Rutgers' first commitment for the class of 2011.

Campolattano's next order of business is to get the second commitment, then the third and fourth and so on as he becomes an ambassador in helping shape his recruiting class.

"I plan on taking a big part in helping the recruiting process, and getting other people to commit and do their thing,'' he said. "I want to come in and be a leader.''

Campolattano already established good relationships with several other recruits favoring Rutgers, including Christopher Columbus High (Bronx, N.Y.) defensive tackle Al Page and Woodbridge (N.J.) High defensive end Max Issaka.

He likely will also reach out to a number of other recruits in what is a talented and deep New Jersey class. Rutgers already offered 18 New Jersey players in the class.

The commitment was made during a Tuesday evening meeting with Schiano in the Hale Center. And it means the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Campolattano will hang up his famous wrestling shoes after what is expected to be a dominant senior season in which he could join Delbarton's Mike Grey as a four-time state champion in wrestling.

"I knew this (football) is what I wanted this I want to do,'' Campolattano said. "I know I've been on the scene for wrestling a lot, and it's going to be hard to walk away from.''

Campolattano, who won the 189-pound division this season, is 131-1 record into next season, but is embracing the chance to make his name in another sport.

"It's not that I made my mark in wrestling because there's always room for improvement,'' Campolattano said. "I can always get better and stuff, but I really like coach Schiano's morals and what his beliefs are and everything. That was really important to me. I like that he's so into the team's welfare, and he's all about academics and everything.

"And I love playing football. It's what I wanted to do.''

Campolattano plays running back and linebacker at Bound Brook. He is heading to Rutgers as a middle linebacker.

"He's a great player,'' Crusaders coach Kevin Carty said. "He's the toughest player I've ever seen as a coach. He's so much tougher than the other guys. He's so tough and competitive, and physically, he's just impressive. He runs so well and he's strong. He's a great kid.

"He's very explosive. One of the things I feel he does better than anybody, is when there's a skill he has to practice and learn, he picks it up and gets better at it so fast. He's very determined to get it.''

There is also the chance his development as a football player could accelerate once he enrolls at Rutgers.

As a two-sport standout, Campolattano had to constantly add and drop weight, depending on which sport was in season. With total devotion to football, Carty believes Campolattano will excel.

"He's already the best at one of (the sports),'' Carty said. "I don't see a reason why he couldn't be that good in football. He's very good now, and I think he's only going to get better at it because he hasn't done it for long.''

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