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Wild recruiting ride has happy ending for Jefferson's Overstreet

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Wed. February 3, 2010 | Eduardo A. Encina

There was a point during the recruiting process when Jefferson linebacker Fred Overstreet didn't know whether he'd land a Division I scholarship.

He pictured himself at Minnesota -- and also owned offers from Purdue and Syracuse -- but when Overstreet didn't commit early, all three pulled their offers.

"It was all kinda iffy," Overstreet said. "Then Rutgers came into the picture two weeks ago."

On Tuesday, Overstreet donned a red Rutgers hat, signing with the Scarlet Knights at Jefferson in front of coaches, friends and family.

He is the second local player to sign with the Big East school. Leto's Jeremy Deering is also signing with Rutgers.

Overstreet, who is being recruited as an outside linebacker, visited Rutgers this past weekend, when he was offered a scholarship by the Scarlet Knights.

"I knew Rutgers was a school that has alumni all over the US and they've been to a bowl game the past few years," Overstreet said. "Also, they play games in the south playing in the Big East."

That fact was important for Overstreet, who get to come home playing conference foe USF.

Jefferson coach Mike Fenton detailed Overstreet's rise to a Division I recruit, a lean unhyped ninth-grader who earned a varsity call up as a freshman. Overstreet, a quiet player, worked hard in the weight room, on the field and in the classroom to become the leader of a Jefferson defense that helped the Dragons to a Class 3A state semifinal appearance.

"I told the coaches at Rutgers, 'You're getting a gem," Fenton said. "I'll put my reputation as a football coach on the line on that they're getting a great football player and a great person. ... That's how sure I am."

-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (eencina@sptimes.com)

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