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Headlinin’: Rutgers salvages a blue-chip finish

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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Making the morning rounds.

It's signing day. The single nerdiest day on the college football calendar, yes, but an essential one. (And still not quite as lame as, say, fantasy football, unless you're one of those sad souls who actually tweets at recruits to influence and/or berate their decision. In which case, stop it.) Here is your command center to keep tabs on the top uncommitted prospects. [Rivals]

Jersey score. The fax machines are already humming this morning with letters of intent from recruits, but Rutgers got the news it wanted Tuesday night with a verbal commitment from the most coveted prospect in New Jersey, five-star defensive end Darius Hamilton. Even by blue-chip standards, Hamilton is about as blue as they come: His father is former New York Giant defensive end Keith Hamilton, and at 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, Darius already looks like he belongs in an NFL locker room. His high school team, Don Bosco Prep (mascot: Ironmen), finished undefeated for the third year in a row and was arguably the best high school defense in the country.

His signature today will be a big win for the Scarlet Knights on the heels of coach Greg Schiano's abrupt departure for the NFL, especially after watching three other Jersey targets — Devin Fuller (UCLA), Yuri Wright (Colorado) and Elijah Shumate (Notre Dame) — make pledges to out-of-state schools over the last three weeks. "It was always I was going to Rutgers but I was sidetracked by this college or sidetracked by this college," Hamilton said. "This week I actually sat down and I thought about what I want. I think that's when it all came into perspective for me." [Newark Star-Ledger]

Comings and goings, part one. Former Iowa running back Marcus Coker is transferring to Stony Brook University in New York to continue his career following a sexual assault investigation that led to his exit from Iowa City. Coker played the last five games of the 2011 regular season after Iowa had been informed of an ongoing investigation into the alleged assault, finishing second in the Big Ten with 1,384 yards rushing prior to being suspended for the Hawkeyes' trip to the Insight Bowl. The investigation was ultimately closed in late November because the alleged victim declined to press charges, and Iowa is now citing student privacy laws to avoid releasing documents that show how administrators responded to the allegation.

"I did due diligence with the resources I had to really look at his character and his family background," said Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore. "After the research I did into the allegations, I was comfortable he would be somebody that would be a positive role model moving forward at Stony Brook University. He's a very good student in the classroom, a very reserved, quiet kid. … He's exactly on schedule to graduate in eight semesters." [Cedar Rapids Gazette, Associated Press]

A scholarship is the least of his concerns. Elsewhere, former Ohio State commit Roger Lewis has been arrested and charged with two counts of rape against the same woman for alleged incidents in December and January. Lewis, a four-star wide receiver prospect out of Pickerington, Ohio, originally committed to the Buckeyes last August, but had fallen off the new coaching staff's radar after the rape investigation was initiated last month. He was being held on $250,000 bond. [Columbus Dispatch]

Summon the citizens of Under a Rock County. Prosecutors in the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse case have requested to have jurors imported from another Pennsylvania county, arguing that the "breadth and intensity" of media coverage has made it virtually impossible to assemble an unbiased jury in the State College area. (Are the Amish an option here? Just asking.) Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola — apparently anticipating sympathy from the locals on 52 criminal counts against his client — said he plans to fight the request.

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"The unblinking eye of the press has been focused on a case which is without analogue or peer in the history of this commonwealth," wrote Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan. "Perhaps an early 20th century Pittsburgh trial implicating [Henry Clay] Frick or [Andrew] Carnegie might have presented parallels; but truly, this case is necessarily unique." [Associated Press]

Comings and goings, part two. Former Penn State quarterback Kevin Newsome — once one of the most hyped quarterback prospects in the nation — is transferring to Temple to finish his career after attempting just 24 passes in two years as a Nittany Lion. Newsome arrived in State College as the No. 4 "dual threat" quarterback in the 2009 recruiting class and spent his freshman season as the top backup to All-Big Ten senior Daryll Clark, but subsequently fell to third-string in 2010 (behind Matt McGloin and Robert Bolden, which is saying something) and eventually left the team last August. Whether he's more interested in playing quarterback or becoming a hip-hop star is yet to be determined. [Philadelphia Daily News]

The Rap Sheet. Colorado defensive lineman Will Pericak — a regular starter who finished fourth on the team in tackles last year as a junior — was arrested Sunday morning after allegedly lighting the content of a metal bucket on fire in a local bar and refusing to leave. According to the police report, Pericak, 21, set fire to "trash and miscellaneous papers" inside the bucket and then "walked aggressively toward the bartender," at which point police were called and Pericak fled the bar. Officers caught up to a "heavily intoxicated" Pericak a few blocks away and charged him with misdemeanor physical harassment and trespassing. [Boulder Daily Camera]

Quickly… Boise State's second-leading rusher is granted a sixth year of eligibility. … A Washington State recruit commits to the Cougars from next to his mother's hospital bed. … A handful of Detroit-area prospects candidly detail the recruiting process. … Jim Tressel has sold his house in suburban Columbus. … And the poor kid who infamously staged a phony signing ceremony at his high school in 2008 has signed an actual letter of intent to Division II Missouri Western State.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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