22 in 22: Djwany Mera

In the seventh installment of ScarletReport.com's original series "22 in 22," South Broward High (Hollywood, Fla.) defensive end Djwany Mera is the subject. He is working hard, but not in the way many other members of Rutgers' 2010 recruiting class are working as their time before enrolling at Rutgers approaches. Mera talks about what is going on in his life, and how he may fit in at Rutgers.

While many members of Rutgers' class of 2010 ready for college life and wondering how they fit into the depth chart, South Broward High (Hollywood, Fla.) defensive end Djwany Mera is experiencing a much different anxiety.

He still needs a qualifying test score, and is doing the hardest studying of his life leading up to Saturday's ACT.

"I got a 14 and I needed a 15, so I'm real close,'' Mera said. "I signed up for it again and this time, hopefully, I'll be able to get it.''

Whether the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Mera will get the results in time to enroll in Rutgers' second summer session, which begins June 28, is in question. And because of his uncertain academic standing, no arrival date has been set.

But if Mera can get the necessary score, he will bring his length and considerable athleticism to campus quickly.

On the field, Mera was outstanding his final two seasons at South Broward High, where he registered a combined 37 sacks. He finished his senior season with 103 tackles, including 38 for loss, and a school-record 21 sacks.

However, he knows it will take a lot of work, physically, to be able to play on Rutgers' talented defensive line as a freshman and he expects to red-shirt. Rutgers still start Alex Silvestro and Jonathan Freeny at defensive end, and Sorie Bayoh and Justin Francis serve as backups.

"I don't think I'm in football shape right now,'' Mera said. "I'm getting there, though. I just need to start running more and I'll be fine. I've seen the guys up there and they seem pretty big, pretty quick. I don't know, though. I could get there if I push myself. If I push myself harder, I can get there.''

Mera was successful at South Broward High because of his explosive first step, quick change of direction and ability to get around the corner. His athleticism showed in his wrestling ability, where he won 72 matches in his final two years.

With more weighting training and better technique, Mera thinks he can bring the same style of rushing the passer to Rutgers.

"I can rush off the ball pretty quick and get to the quarterback,'' Mera said. "I see myself putting pressure on the quarterback.''

Mera said he has had little conversation with Rutgers about a plan if he does not achieve the necessary ACT score. Options include attending a prep school for a year before enrolling, heading to a junior college, or not attending school in the fall and taking the test again, and if he passes it, enrolling at Rutgers in January.

Of course, those are options Mera hopes do not need to be visited.

"I want it to be over with,'' Mera said. "I've been studying with my brother. He's smart, and I'm working with him and he's pushing me to try and get it. Before when I took it, I didn't really study for it. This time I'm actually studying and trying to get it.''

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