There were a few instances between signing day and the conclusion of spring practice in which Rutgers coach Greg Schiano talked about an unnamed incoming freshman being able to play the “Wildcat” position.
Jeremy Deering ran the “Wildcat” at Leto High of Tampa, Fla.
There was also discussion about said unnamed player built similarly to 6-foot-2, 215-pound Rutgers sophomore Mohamed Sanu, a safety-turned-receiver who caught 51 passes and ran for 346 yards and five scores from the “Wildcat” formation.
Deering, who is 6-2, 203 pounds, caught 13 passes for 265 yards and ran for 812 yards and three touchdowns out of the “Wildcat” as a senior at Leto High.
Of the 24 members of Rutgers’ 2009 recruiting class, none come with more expectations than Deering, who stunned the Sunshine state by selecting the Scarlet Knights over Florida State the eve of signing day. He was slated to travel to campus late last week and begin the first summer session at Rutgers this week, with his focus on making an immediate impact.
“That’s what I want to do, but I don’t know if I’m going to do that,’’ Deering said. “It just depends. When you go up there, you just have to compete. I don’t know my competition yet.’’
Deering will bring immense physical talent, mental toughness and strong character with him.
He was a highly rated receiver and safety at Leto High, where he played running back, quarterback, receiver and safety. He was a hurdler on the track team, and ran a personal-best 14.2 seconds in the 110 meter hurdles after undergoing surgery to repair a broken collarbone at the end of his senior football season, an injury that was supposed to nullify his track season.
And he is a player who remained at Leto High, which finished 2-7, despite pressure to transfer to compete at a program with a higher profile.
However, Deering said none of those things will dictate whether or not he is ready to play at Rutgers as a true freshman.
“It depends on where you are mentally. And physically, you have to be in shape, and it really depends on how fast you learn the plays,’’ he said. “Some people take longer than others, so they may not play as quickly, and it depends on your skill level.
“If you come up there as a receiver and you’ve been coached good as a receiver, than you’ll most likely play. If you haven’t been coached that much as a receiver, but you’re still good, they’ll work with you and you’ll probably play the next year.’’
Deering added he did not talk to the Rutgers coaching staff about the “Wildcat” package since signing day, but it is a something he is comfortable running.
“Junior year I played a lot of quarterback, and senior year I played a lot of receiver,’’ Deering said. “Some plays (in the Wildcats) we had here, it was a run. And they would usually tell me where the run is supposed to go, and I would get to the open hole and hit it. If I see something open, I take it. Different people do it different ways. We didn’t run ours too complex.’’