Another Wicomico High (Salisbury, Md.) product is headed to Rutgers after three-star running back Dontea Ayres verbally committed to Rutgers and coach Kyle Flood today.
Ayres is the third member and second offensive prospect to join the Class of 2013.
Ayres had Rutgers as his leader for the month following his unofficial visit and took things to the next step today by making his verbal commitment.
Furthermore, his coach, Dave Nettles, said Ayres plans on enrolling in January.
Ayres ranks in as the No. 80 player at his position in the class and chose Rutgers over offers from Duke, Navy, North Carolina State, Northwestern and West Virginia. The bruising running back measures in at 5-foot-9, 210 pounds.
"The coaching staff there, coach Flood, coach [Damian] Wroblewski and coach [Dave] Brock, they’re great coaches,” Ayres said. "I could always see myself playing for them. They run a pro-style offense, which I think will be a great fit for me. They have a great school. The APR rating is ridiculous. I just felt it in my heart. This is the school I want.”
Academics and comfort level were the two main factors for Ayres in his college search. Both facets of Rutgers impressed him after a pair of spring visits to campus with Nettles.
“I’m stoked,” Ayres said. “I’m ecstatic right now. They offer so much to me. The academics there are incredible. With the football program, we can have a run at the National Championship. it’s a program that is rising right now and it’s a program I want to be a part of. They have a lot to offer.”
Ayres is from the same high school as Rutgers senior safety Wayne Warren. The two are close friends and train together in the offseason.
Rutgers visited Wicomico on Tuesday as a part of the spring evaluation period and gained even more ground to the point where he felt ready today to make his decision.
“I got to talk to coach Flood and coach Brock (on the phone) and it was great,” Ayres said. “It was just for a little bit, just like ‘hey,’ but I really saw how much they want me. It felt more like hanging out with good friends and family.”
Ayres told ScarletReport.com he planned to take trips to West Virginia and Northwestern this summer, but said he would not take more visits if he felt like committing elsewhere.
“[Flood] was ecstatic,” Ayres said. “They’ve been pushing for a commit, saying I’m one of their top guys in this recruiting progress. When I told him I wanted to commit, he was happy. We had a long talk. I’ll talk to them again tonight.”
The contact with the Rutgers staff since his visit, combined the end of his junior year approaching and teammate Derrick Hayward committing to Maryland, Ayres brought an end to his recruitment today by committing to Rutgers.
The first solid out-of-state commit, Ayres joins Dayton (Springfield, N.J.) athlete Anthony Cioffi and Madison (N.J.) athlete Justin Goodwin in the Class of 2013. Fellow Maryland native Moise Larose, considers himself a soft verbal to Rutgers and continues to explore other options.
"I’m going to bring the hard work and dedication of course, but I can provide so much more than that,” Ayres said. “I’m going to help this team reach their goals of a National Championship. I have dedication and I’m going to provide it early. that’s all I can say.”