The Syracuse football recruiting class was dealt a blow when Paramus Catholic Safety Najee Clayton announced that he will attend Rutgers next year. This decision came after Clayton took official visits to both Rutgers and Syracuse over the last two weeks. He announced today via twitter that he chose Rutgers over Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
Clayton is a three-star recruit and the fourteenth ranked recruit in the state of New Jersey, according to 24/7 Sports. While Rutgers, Syuracuse and Pitt made up his final three choices, Clayton also received offers from Penn State, Boston College, Iowa, UConn and Florida.
It should come as no surprise that he was so highly sought after. This season, his senior year at Paramus Catholic (NJ), Clayton recorded 79 tackles and had four interceptions. He is also already an ideal size for a safety at 6 ft. 3 and 215 pounds. He also has the ability to play the wide receiver position.
While Syracuse made a big push to sign Clayton, he felt more at home at Rutgers. He is from New Jersey and according to NJ.com, his high school coach, Chris Partidge, felt that Rutgers was the place he would feel most at home.
Clayton also attributed his decision to the tight ends coach at RU, Anthony Campanile. Clayton told NJ.comthat, “He’s a great guy. I just love his energy. He really cares about me.” He went on to call the care that Campanile showed him a “blessing”.
The New Jersey native was a target for the Orange because Syracuse was looking to bolster their defensive backfield. The Orange are planning for life after Durell Eskridge, who declared for the 2015 NFL draft, and signing Clayton could have aided in the process.
While the Orange may have missed out on Clayton, they will still add two safeties in this year’s recruiting class. Christopher Frederick and Marquise Blair have both committed to Syracuse and may be key roles in the reformation of the Orange secondary.
Posted: Logan Grossman