Rutgers Kaleb Johnson, Jacksonville play important role for Kamren Lott
|Rutgers' Kaleb Johnson speaks with early enrollee Kamren Lott, another Jacksonville, Fla., native, nearly every day. (AP file photo)|
By Tyler Barto
PISCATAWAY — When Kaleb Johnson announced Jan. 14 that he'd return to Rutgers for his senior season, a future teammate exhaled.
Kamren Lott, one of five freshmen who enrolled early for the spring semester, shares Johnson's Jacksonville, Fla., roots. He said Monday that Johnson, a three-year starter along the offensive line, was one of the reasons he committed to Rutgers.
"He’s like a big brother to me, being from Jacksonville," said Lott, a three-star cornerback, according to Rivals.com. "I’m glad he stayed for his senior year. Just look for a big season from him.”
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Lott, a First Coast High grad, and Johnson's Ed H. White High play each other every season. Only 21 miles in Duval County separate them. Lott and First Coast won, 39-21, in last season's matchup.
"The first day we had a team meeting and we had to introduce ourselves, Lott said at the team's Hale Center facility. "When I said I was from Jacksonville, (Johnson) was like, ‘Duval.’ He just shows me love every time I see him. That’s a good thing.
“We talk almost every day. When I’m in the weight room with the new freshmen, he’s in there getting an extra lift in, so we’re always communicating.”
Six of Rutgers' 23 commits in the Class of 2014 come from Florida, the southernmost point of the Scarlet Knights' recruiting network. More than 20 percent of Rutgers' current scholarship players, including its 2014 haul, played Florida high school football.