Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Football Updates: Fonti to Rutgers; Clemmings NOT Committed to Pitt
Chris Fonti, a 6-foot-7, 320-pound offensive tackle from Wayne (N.J.) Hills High, verbally committed to Rutgers Monday after attending the Rutgers Big Man Academy this past weekend.
“Yes, I did,” Fonti said by phone. “I’m just happy to be a Scarlet Knight.”
Fonti, who also had offers from East Carolina, Louisville and Florida International, said he decided after working out this weekend with Rutgers offensive line coach Kyle Flood.
“That was it,” he said. “After working with Coach Flood, that made me want to come. I just liked the way he teaches. He’s very hands on. He knows what to do and he just seemed like a great coach.”
Fonti also cited the proximity of Rutgers to his home in Wayne and the school’s recent academic accolades. He called head coach Greg Schiano Monday to give his commitment.
“He was just ecstatic and he knew that it was the right place for me and it was a good fit,” Fonti said of Schiano.
Fonti is Rutgers’ third commit in the Class of 2010, joining athlete JJ Tartacoff of Montgomery, N.J. and OL Betim Bujari of Secaucus.
Wayne Hills coach Chris Olsen, who has won five straight North 1, Group 3 championships, said he could imagine Fonti one day playing in the NFL.
“At 6 foot 7, 315 pounds, I think he can be a competitive player at any level, not only the next level but possibly the level after that,” he said.
“He’s going to a place where they have one of the top offensive line coaches in the country. He loves Coach Schiano and he loves where they’re going. It’s a great fit for him.”
Olsen said Fonti wasn’t permitted to play Little League football in Wayne because of his size and has improved dramatically after playing just one year of varsity ball.
“He hadn’t played Little League football because he was too big. There’s weight limits. Lineman can’t be more than 155 pounds,” Olsen said. “He was probably that in kindergarten.
“Last year was his first year playing varsity. He was with our second unit. He did get in a lot. There were games where he was dominating. When your 6-7 it’s not easy to block 5-11 kids, either.”
Olsen added: “I’m really happy with his choice. They’re getting a great player who’s just starting to show how good he can really be.”
CLEMMINGS NOT COMMITTED TO PITTPaterson Catholic defensive lineman Trevor “T.J.” Clemmings is not committed to Pitt, according to PC head coach Benjie Wimberly.
“He went out there and made a hasty decision [to commit] without any input from his parents or me,” Wimberly said Monday night. “He’s going to rethink it and continue the recruiting process.”
The 6-6, 263-pound Clemmings told me last month that Pitt and Maryland were his leaders.
“I got a good feel for a couple of schools right now,” Clemmings said at the recent Big Time Football Showcase at Rutgers. “Maryland and Pitt are the two schools coming at me the hardest right now.”
Wimberly said Pitt was still on Clemmings’ list, but so were several other schools.
“It’s very high on his list obviously,” said Wimberly, adding that they would meet on Tuesday to discuss his other visits.
“He’s visited Rutgers, Maryland and Penn State unofficially. He’ll probably do a couple more, Florida and Ohio State. He’s going to try and visit both of them over the summer.
“From there, he will have his five official visits set for the fall.”
Chris Melvin of EliteRecruits.com says Clemmings is the No. 1 recruit in New Jersey in the Class of 2010.
“He’s my top player in the state, without a question in my mind,” Melvin said. “He’s raw. The kid still has a long way to go.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.