February 1, 2012

Carroo is officially knighted

RAMSEY, N.J. - This morning, Don Bosco Prep wide receiver Leonte Carroo crossed one more item off his long list of goals to accomplish. Around 10 a.m., he sat on stage at the Don Bosco Prep auditorium and signed his National Letter of Intent, officially making him a Rutgers Scarlet Knight.

By putting pen to paper, Carroo autographed a longtime dream into reality.

"This is a very big dream of mine," Carroo said. "I've been committed since August. Rutgers has always been a school that I wanted to go to. I'm very excited and I can't wait to start. I'm just happy that I'm officially a Scarlet Knight."

This morning's ceremony caps off a whirlwind week for Carroo, which began with the shocking news that Greg Schiano would be leaving the banks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When Carroo first learned of the news last Thursday, he was admittedly taken aback.

Still, once that surprise wore off, it was right back to business.

"The next step was talk to my recruiting class, see how they feel, let them know that I'm loyal and Rutgers is the place that I want to be," Carroo said. "If you guys want to stick with me, that's fine. We're going to do big things together. We've just got to stay strong and we can't let one coach stop our show."

Once news of Schiano's exit began to circulate, rumors started swirling that Carroo would be accompanying his Don Bosco teammate--and fellow Rutgers signee--Darius Hamilton on a visit to Miami. However, Carroo never took that trip, using the time instead to continue his role as one of the unofficial leaders of this class.

"I feel as though I was a big leader. I pretty much knew I was a leader the day Coach Schiano left and everybody in the recruiting class hit me up and said 'Leonte, what are you going to do,'" Carroo said. "I told them, you can pretty much say I'm one of the guys who helped build this class and I'm going to stick with you guys. I'm not going to run on you guys or go anywhere else."

While he may have been one of the commits in the forefront, rallying the troops, Carroo said his efforts were reciprocated by the people who stuck around after Schiano departed.

"The support from the coaching and all my future teammates was big," Carroo said. "Them hitting me up and saying 'We're not going anywhere, stay with us. We love you, you're a great player, and you're going to do big things.'

"That shows how loyal they were and that's important."

During his career at Don Bosco, Carroo showed a flair for the dramatic, including this fall, when he kept the team's perfect season alive with a 64-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown catch to spearhead a 22-16 come-from-behind win at perennial power Manatee (Fla.) on Sept. 19.

Sunday evening, he displayed that comfort in the big moment once again, dramatically re-affirming his commitment to RU on stage at the annual Don Bosco football team awards banquet.

"Everyone was waiting to see what I was going to say, and I was just thinking this would be a perfect opportunity to let all the coaches and everybody in the stands know that I'm loyal to the state and I love my Rutgers fans and I love my future teammates and coaches," he said.

Carroo's final touch on the 2012 class arrived this morning in the form of a signed NLI from Reistertown, Md. It contained the John Hancock of Franklin High School product Ian Thomas, who becomes the fourth member of a dynamic group of wide receivers who inked their names on the dotted line this morning for new Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood.

"He pretty much told me. I wasn't really sure because he had a lot of schools that he really liked and he was nervous about this whole thing," Carroo said. "I was talking to him and I was like 'Hey, we could be a great duo like Mohamed Sanu and Mark Harrison. I would love for you to come and be a part of the family.'"

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