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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

National Signing Day Preview: Rutgers 2015 commits with highest ceilings

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

Wednesday's National Signing Day becomes the first official marker for college football's new calendar year. Rutgers' current haul sits at 25 commits, five of whom will enroll early.

I talked to Bobby Deren, a Rutgers recruiting analyst for, for his list of committed prospects for 2015 with the highest ceilings.

Marques Ford, DE — The 11th-hour flip from Tennessee gives Rutgers its first four-star commit since 2013. While he should play right away, his athleticism could make him a league fixture for years to come.

"Ford plays at an elite level," Deren said. "He has the quickness, strength and overall talent to be an All-Big Ten defensive player."

Zach Venesky, OL — Few offensive linemen play immediately at Rutgers, but this projected center has all the tools to follow Betim Bujari as a four-year starter, Deren said.

"He is not afraid to mix things up and routinely punishes opponents," Deren said. "Having a year to redshirt and learn the system  could be adequate enough time before inserting him into the starting lineup."

Kamaal Seymour, DT — This signee from Grand Street Campus (N.Y.) held off late advances from Penn State in becoming a rare breed of interior linemen.

He's still raw, but Seymour could project as a freakish athlete against Big Ten offensive lines.

"You will not find too many 6-foot-5, 290-pound freshman defensive tackles who are as athletic as Seymour," Deren said. "He is still a bit on the raw side, but has very high potential. Learning the finer points of the game and improving his technique could take him a long way in a hurry."

Isaiah Johnson, LB — Yes, this juco linebacker from San Francisco only has two years of eligibility remaining, but he has only one real season of experience in the front seven.

A former running back, Johnson should compete for playing time immediately in Rutgers' suddenly crowded linebacker room.

"He can play both middle and strongside linebacker and closes in a hurry," Deren said. "His speed compliments his 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame and he will be ready to step right in."

Jawuan Harris, WR — The late flip from Florida Atlantic brings even more youthful depth to Rutgers' perimeter. His playmaking ability and Florida roots draw early comparisons to Janarion Grant.

"Harris not only has the ability to leave defenders in the dust, he has a habit of making it look easy," Deren said. "He is quick, fast and possesses excellent hands. The Florida wide receiver is not the biggest player, but he is able to create space and mismatches with his speed."

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