Nakamura cleared for practice

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens rookie safety Haruki Nakamura isn't subject to an NFL-NCAA rule that prohibits players from attending more than one minicamp until their college academic schedule is concluded.

Although the University of Cincinnati doesn't finish its final exams until June 12 under its quarter system, Nakamura is exempt from the rule because he has already graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

Nakamura completed his degree requirements during the winter quarter. Hence, the sixth-round draft pick will be able to attend all of the Ravens' offseason minicamps, including next week's passing camp.

"Haruki definitely takes his studies seriously, and finishing school early made his preparation for the scouting combine more convenient," said Andy Simms, Nakamura's agent. "He finished his classes up during his training. A lot of guys don't do that kind of stuff, but it was obviously important to him that he finish his education."

Nakamura was a three-year starter who led the Bearcats with 95 tackles last season, also intercepting four passes and recovering four fumbles.

The Ravens primarily drafted the Cleveland native for his special-teams potential and to provide depth at the safety position. Plus, Baltimore added hard-hitting Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski in the third round.

"I think we drafted two outstanding, smart, productive, tough safeties with a knack for making big plays," Ravens director of college scouting Eric DeCosta said after the draft. "Very similar to our two starting safeties from the standpoint of instincts, making plays, interceptions, fumble recoveries, special-teams impact."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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