More from the NJ vs. Northeast All-Star Classic/Davis to Rutgers

Posted by Scott Stump –


New Jersey continues to dominate what is now known as the New Jersey vs. Northeast All-Star Classic, as it won its fourth straight, 13-7, and its second in a row since the format changed from New Jersey vs. New York to New Jersey vs. a team made up of players from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, Delaware and Virginia.

Toms River East’s Nico Steriti was on his way to a monster game with 82 yards rushing and a touchdown on his first seven carries before his day ended early in the third quarter when he took a helmet to the right shin that left a hole that he had to have wrapped up to stop the bleeding. Regardless, he still was named New Jersey’s offensive MVP despite the fact that Boston College-bound DePaul wideout Shakim Phillips had a game-high six catches for 124 yards.

For a player who was frustrated most of his senior year for not being able to attract a Division I-A offer, he showed he belonged on the field with a host of other Division I-A recruits before he heads off to play at New Hampshire, a top Division I-AA program. You could tell that the whole white running back stereotype that he battled during the recruiting process is something that still bothers him, but for one day at least, he had his say.

Phillips was also impressive. He caught a 65-yard bomb on the first possession that set up a touchdown and also had another touchdown catch off a broken play called back in the fourth quarter because he stepped out of bounds and came back in before making the catch. He does a good job of getting separation down field, as he usually had to come back to get the ball because he had his man beaten so badly but the wind was so bad that it was hard to throw tight spirals down the field.

Raritan wide receiver Bennett Jackson actually ran the ball way more than he caught it, with 7 carries, mainly on jet sweeps while he was coming in motion, and only one catch for minus-3 yards. He did break out his trademark hurdle on a kickoff return, leaping over a defender only a few days after he won the 110-meter hurdles title at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions. Barnegat tight end Jarrett Darmstatter was used as a blocker along with fellow tight end Tyler Johnson, a 6-foot-6 specimen who is headed to Temple. Matawan defensive tackle Malike Gumbs, who is going to Nassau Community College, was a last-second addition and held his own up front.

Also, Immaculata kicker Nick DeLouisa, who is headed to Rutgers as a preferred walk-on, showed a solid leg with a pair of field goals, although he had a pretty strong wind at his back for his 42-yarder and under game rules, the Northeast could not try to block the kick, so it’s kind of hard to tell just how good DeLouisa is. I think he has real potential on kickoffs to be able to regularly boot touchbacks.

As for some of the other future players headed to Rutgers, Sayreville linebacker Dave Milewski is a stud. I saw him this season when the Bombers played Howell and saw him on film and was impressed, but he stood out on Sunday with a team-high 8 tackles, tying him with another Rutgers recruit, J.T. Tartacoff, who split time at outside linebacker and safety. Milewski is a good downhill tackler who did a solid job in pursuit as far as his lateral speed. I just like to see who the alpha dogs are in weeks like this, the guys who show leadership and take control amidst the big egos of the all-stars, and Milewski did exactly that. He ran the defense and exhorted his teammates the whole game. I think Rutgers got a good one there.

It works the other way, too. While noticing Milewski’s intangibles, I also watched one of the running backs on New Jersey openly yell to his family in the stands repeatedly that he wanted to go home because he wasn’t getting enough carries to his liking. That kid is what assistant coaches/recruiters call a GMF – Get Me Fired. Just good enough to be recruited, and just enough of a knucklehead to tick off the head coach and be a black mark on the resume of the assistant who recruited him. Don’t worry Rutgers fans, he’s not one of yours.

Tartacoff showed some good open field speed, although I don’t know what his position really should be. He is a little small for linebacker, but he could make a good safety unless they decide to try him as a slot receiver.

I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see any of Pittsburgh-bound defensive end T.J. Clemmings from Paterson Catholic, who was out with some kind of minor chest injury from what Steriti was telling me.

The Don Bosco crew of all-state talent was a no-show again, as the game organizers invited them but have not been able to get the Ironmen to commit to playing in this game for some reason.

While Rutgers had five recruits participating, Temple and head coach Al Golden (an RBC grad) had 10, although the rosters listed 11, but from what Steriti was saying, Timber Creek running back Nahjee Gibson is not going to Temple but to a prep school or junior college.

As for the Northeast team, the obvious kid who stood out was Baltimore wide receiver Adrian Coxson, who is headed to play for Urban Meyer at Florida. On a punt that bounced down to the 1-yard line and was initially touched by a New Jersey defender, he scooped it up and then zigged and zagged his way to a 99-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He also had a few other nice open field moves on special teams and in the passing game. He was by far the best offensive player, and their running backs were fairly unimpressive.

For those wondering why the game was not live on My9 on Sunday as initially announced, My9 backed out of broadcasting the game about a week or so in advance for undisclosed reasons, so MSG Varsity swooped in and produced the broadcast. The event organizers probably should’ve made that broadcasting change known to reporters because all of the media outlets had reported it would be on Channel 9 because it was in the official news release for the game. For those Cablevision subscribers out there, you can watch the replay of the game on Monday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. and on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. on MSG Varsity.

Finally, the game wasn’t the only thing going on at Rutgers, as Neptune running back Charles Davis was up there for a visit and made a verbal commitment to cement where everyone figured he would go all along. Now we’ll see if he can rope in some others from the Shore. He is good friends with one of the state’s top recruits, Long Branch quarterback Miles Shuler, and their fathers are also good friends. I’m sure Davis will be leaning on a player who just ran the second-fastest 100-meter dash time in the nation this season to win the Meet of Champions race last week.


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One Response to “More from the NJ vs. Northeast All-Star Classic/Davis to Rutgers”

  1. Terry Says:

    what about the defensive end Mike Reilly who kept the pressure on the quarterback the whole game and received defense player of the game.

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