WOODBURY, N.Y. – Darius Hamilton is staying home.
The Don Bosco Prep senior standout, named the National Defensive Player of the Year last month, verbally committed to Rutgers University on Tuesday evening.
Clad in a black suit and tie, Hamilton announced his much-anticipated college choice live on MSG Varsity’s show “A Quick :60” while sitting alongside host Mike Quick.
"It's a huge relief," said the 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end, who brought along his family members and two best friends from the Don Bosco football team to enjoy the night's festivities at the MSG Varsity headquarters.
"I knew in my heart where I wanted to be. This was really cool to do it like we did. I tried to keep people guessing with my color schemes."
Hamilton, who chose the Scarlet Knights over Cal and Florida, among dozens of other Division I offers, claims he arrived at his decision at the start of the week and was not focused on one school at the time Rutgers became a major storyline in national news.
Many speculated the All-American would shy away from the Piscataway school after former coach Greg Schiano left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Still, it never swayed Hamilton.
In the end, the thought of playing in front of his hometown friends and family – along with the opportunity to suit up with former Don Bosco teammates Gary Nova, Paul Canevari and Leonte Carroo -- was too good to pass up.
"When we've been together, all we've done is win," Darius said. "Rutgers is definitely a team on the rise and I'm happy to be a part of it. If other kids stay on, it could be great."
The son of former New York Giants All-Pro Keith Hamilton, Darius went on official visits to Rutgers, Cal, Florida and, most recently, Miami this past Friday.
"The thing about Darius is he's not your everyday guy," Keith said. "He loves New Jersey and his heart is here. He is a good young man. If I didn't know him, I would say you couldn't ask for a better son or man. People know him for what he does on the field, but I get to remember him as a son."
Hamilton helped the Ironmen capture their sixth straight Non-Public Group 4 title and second national championship in three years this past fall.
In addition to adding Hamilton, Rutgers and its new coach Kyle Flood are expected to nab other top-flight recruits from New Jersey, including DePaul’s Davon Jacobs, Sayreville's Delon Stephenson, Don Bosco Prep’s Leonte Carroo, and Saddle Brook’s Steve Longa.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter