Rutgers Lands JUCO Forward Deshawn Freeman

Originally posted on ZagsBlog.com:

Rutgers has landed a commitment from JUCO forward Deshawn Freeman of Hutchinson (KS) Community College.

The 6-foot-8, 220-pound North Carolina native will have two years of eligibility beginning in 2015-16.

“Deshawn chose Rutgers because of the opportunity to play and contribute to day one,” Hutch assistant Jay Cyriac told SNY.tv. “Greg Vetrone lived up to his reputation as a tenacious recruiter and was relentless.

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Contrite Rice gives advice at Rutgers spring game

USATSI_2496096_110579513_lowresFormer Rutgers running back Ray Rice told the Scarlet Knights to “not make the mistakes that I made” before their spring football game Friday in Piscataway.

Rice is seeking a second chance in the NFL after missing last season when video surfaced of him striking his wife in the elevator of an Atlantic City hotel.

“If I can help them understand, then I’ve made an impact,” Rice told reporter Steve Politi (April 24). “It costs no money to give them a good message like that.”

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood invited Rice to speak.

“Ray made the wrong decision, and he’s held himself accountable to it, and he’s paid the price for it, and I thought today was an opportunity for him to deliver a message to try to prevent one of our young people doing that in the future,” Flood said.

Rice had no comment when asked by Politi about his NFL future.


Flood said that the quarterback competition will continue between Chris Laviano and Hayden Rettig when camp opens next August (Rutgers, April 24).

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RB Desmon Peoples eager to keep improving

Rutgers running back Desmon Peoples isn’t ready to settle with his on field performance last season – even after his most productive year, combining for 579 yards with three touchdowns (NJ.com, April 10).

“I really wasn’t satisfied with anything,” Peoples said. “I know I could’ve done better. I feel like I could’ve produced a lot more than I did.”

The junior stepped into the starting role for four games last season after leading rusher Paul James suffered a season-ending injury in September. But he ultimately fell behind freshmen on the depth chart in the final months.

“It made me want to work 10 times harder to be the best I can be,” Peoples said.

But even though he fell behind last season, he said he’s glad to see so much depth in the running back competition.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Peoples said of the running back depth. “We all obviously can play. We’ve played in games during the season. We have a lot of weapons in the backfield. So I feel like it makes us better as a team.”

Scarlet Knights softball extends winning streak

The RU softball team is hot on a seven game winning streak after picking up a 6-2 victory over Princeton on Wednesday (Rutgers, April 8).

The Scarlet Knights are now 20-9 overall and 4-0 at home.

Junior Stephanie Huang led the Rutgers offense going 2-for-3 at the plate, including a walk and a run, while freshman Meaghan Wells tallied her first homer of her collegiate career with a two-run shot to put RU on the board in the second.

Senior Alyssa Landrith started on the mound for the Scarlet Knights, registering two scoreless and hitless frames while striking out five consecutive Tiger batters. She earned the win bringing her overall record to 11-5 on the season.

Several RU football players to take part in Jets and Giants pro days

More than a few former Rutgers players are preparing for the Giants and Jets pro days on April 9 and 10, respectively (NJ.com, April 4).

Seven former Scarlet Knights will work out for the Giants including FB Michael Burton, QB Gary Nova, WR Andrew Turzilli, OL Kaleb Johnson, OL Betim Bujari, LB Kevin Snyder and SS Lorenzo Waters.

Six will take the field for the Jets: TE Tyler Kroft, FB Michael Burton, QB Gary Nova, WR Andrew Turzilli, OL Kaleb Johnson and LB Kevin Snyder.

Kroft is the top prospect in the group of players, projected as a mid-round pick. He has already taken individual workouts with the Eagles, Jaguars and the Buccaneers, with visits schedules with the Bears and Broncos.

Burton was the only other Scarlet Knight invited to the NFL combine and he has also worked out for the Buccaneers and had a meeting with the Browns on Friday.

Former RU fullback Michael Burton works out for Buccaneers

Michael Burton, former Rutgers fullback, has been drawing interest from teams as the NFL draft approaches (NJ.com, April 2).

Burton worked out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Rutgers on Thursday morning, according to a person with knowledge of the workout. 5-foot-11, 250-pounder is scheduled to visit with the Browns on Friday.

While Burton’s options are limited because only 19 of the 32 NFL teams used a fullback last season, the Long Valley native has also drawn attention from the Jets and Giants and is scheduled to work out in a local pro day for each team.

The former Rutgers walk-on turned captain has increased his value by working on his versatility – Brown is capable of playing H-back and is a core special teams player.