Rutgers Heating Up Recruitment of Fla. LB/DE

Rutgers likes to use its defensive ends to drop into coverage, making the hybrid role of DE/LB a necessity in the 4-3 scheme the Scarlet Knights use. So bringing in a few those players in a recruiting class is important, and Rutgers recently ramped up the recruitment of this 6-foot-3, 235-pound athlete from Miami. He holds six offers, but will he visit Rutgers in the summer? Find out what he says.

Rutgers is looking for a few hybrid linebacker/defensive ends for its attacking 4-3 defense, and one being charted closely is Nick Menocal of Miami's Belen Jesuit High.

He is on the visit list for the Scarlet Knights' coaching staff during this spring's evaluation period, and if Rutgers sees what it likes, an offer could be heading Menocal's way.

"I spoke to (receivers) coach (P.J.) Fleck not too long ago, and he was actually opening up my eyes to Rutgers,'' Menocal said. "I didn't really know too much about it, but I've been learning a little bit more about it. They're a pretty good school.''

Menocal holds six offers, including ones from Stanford and Northwestern, so it is easy to see the aspiring law school student takes academics seriously.

"(Fleck) was telling me Rutgers is an upcoming football team, and their team is getting better each year, that it's a good academic school, and it's going to challenge me academically,'' Menocal said. "He said it's just an overall good school and he'd love for me to go up in the summer. I'm going to try and get up there.''

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Menocal primarily played as a rush-linebacker in a 3-4 alignment last season, but Belen Jesuit is shifting to a 4-3 for the upcoming season so he will play mostly as a defensive end.

He made 51 tackles and had two sacks as a junior.

"I want to go to a school that is going to challenge me academically, but on the other hand I want to go to another school that is going to be strong football-wise,'' Menocal said. "I want to play Division I football, and I want to go somewhere that when I graduate from that school, my major is actually going to count toward something.''

Menocal also holds offers from Iowa, Florida International, Minnesota and Western Kentucky. Georgia Tech, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Kansas are also recruiting him.

"As of right now, I think the school that I'm leaning toward is Stanford,'' Menocal said. "There's really not one thing I'm looking for to make my college decision. I'm basically trying to find a school that fits me best, and I think right now Stanford is the school that fits me best.''

But Menocal acknowledged one of the reasons he lists Stanford as his leader is familiarity, and he will approach his summer visit schedule with an open mind.

"I might change my mind when I visit schools over the summer,'' Menocal said.

Menocal has yet to decide which schools he will visit, although he is leaning toward making sure two are on his list.

"That's all up to the budget my parents give me, of what schools I can visit and to how many schools I can visit,'' he said. "Stanford would be one of them. I would love to go up to Vanderbilt in the summer. There are a few schools I want to go see, but I may have to narrow it down to see exactly what schools I can go to.''

Menocal has no time frame for making a commitment.

"I'm not trying to commit at a certain time,'' he said. "I just want to make sure I do all my schoolwork, and I take care of myself on the field during the season.''

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