Five-star RB Huggins Changes Focus

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- spent Monday afternoon watching one of the top high school programs in the country practice, and afterward spoke to a number of high-level recruits. In the first of our series, five-star running back Savon Huggins talks about why he has put recruiting on the "back-burner," when he may trim his list again and what he learned during a very busy summer.

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Savon Huggins' summer tour is over. It took him to Florida, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Miami, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin and on and on. It was fun, exhausting and informative, sometimes all at the same time.

Huggins, the 6-foot, 200-pound five-star running back from St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.), is finally able to be like so many other of his teammates, and that is a high school football player.

As much-needed rain pounded the streets outside of the Marauders' steamy locker room following Monday's afternoon practice, Huggins was smiling about getting back onto the practice field, with no recruiters around, and with the focus on winning an elusive state title.

"I just put it on the back-burner," Huggins said of his recruitment. "I'm just focusing on the season and focusing on camp. I may cut (the list) before the season."

Huggins opened the month of July with a top 10 -- Rutgers, Pitt, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Florida, Penn State, Stanford, Georgia, Wisconsin and Miami – as he tried to get a handle on a recruitment in which more than 60 schools offered scholarships.

The buzz-phrase at St. Peter's Prep is "The ring," a straight-out admission nothing short of a state title will do. Huggins' first three seasons with the Marauders ended with losses to Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) in the state playoffs.

"The ring? That's what we play for," Huggins said. "We lost to the same team the last three years, so we need to get that win."

St. Peter's Prep opens the season Sept. 11 against St. Joe's Prep (Philadelphia), with the game being in a venue Huggins knows very well. The teams will play at Rutgers Stadium, which is 35 minutes from Huggins' home, and a place's No. 6-ranked running back has visited often.

His latest visit came last week, shortly after he returned from a trip to Florida, and was his final day off before high school practice began. During the trip to watch the Scarlet Knights practice, Huggins talked to coach Greg Schiano and stood on the sideline and chatted with Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti.

"I'm really cool with their coaching staff," Huggins said. "I talk to them often, almost every other day. It's not just (Schiano). I talk to the defensive coaches, the offensive coaches, a lot of the coaches there."

Huggins is not declaring any leaders.

As a junior, Huggins ran for 1,544 yards and 22 touchdowns on 211 carries. He also made 24 tackles on defense, and his time will be limited on defense this season.

"Situationally, that's what we'll do," Hansen said. "We'll play him at cornerback in certain situations."

With such an intense summer of visits and recruiting over, Huggins is thrilled and relaxed to be on the practice field. And, not only is he is a strong student in the classroom with a 3.8 grade point average, but he learned plenty of lessons about high-stakes recruiting.

"I picked up different things from different coaches, and different types of recruiting styles," he said. "Some do it harder than others. That's what I learned the most.

"I wouldn't really say (there was anything) eye-opening because I had people ahead of me, mentor me, who went through the process. It wasn't like I was seeing it for the first time. I had people who were letting me know what is coming my way."

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