Wood’s Peoples commits to Rutgers football

Posted: April 28, 2011

The next time Desmon Peoples lights up Rutgers Stadium won't be the first.

Fact is, his first outstanding performance led directly to the verbal commitment he made yesterday, witnessed by family, teammates, other friends and school personnel, in the library at Archbishop Wood High.

Peoples, as solid as they come at 5-7, 170 pounds, is now a junior at Wood and last season, before a foot injury sidelined him for the final three games, he dashed and darted for 1,349 yards and 23 touchdowns.

But as a sophomore, he did his ballin' for St. Joseph's Prep and the second game of that season saw the Hawks meet St. Peter's Prep, of Jersey City, N.J., in Rutgers Stadium.

All Peoples did was turn seven carries into 162 yards and touchdowns of 80 and 60 yards. Oh, and turn one very important head.

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano was among the spectators, mostly because he wanted to get a look at St. Peter's running back Savon Huggins, who committed to Rutgers three months ago.

"Coach Schiano told me he saw what I did and said, 'Who is THAT kid?' " Peoples said, smiling. "So that game definitely played a great role in my early interest from Rutgers.

"Plus, I just loved being in that stadium. I kept looking around everywhere. I was in amazement. In awe. After I scored that first touchdown, I looked up at the JumboTron and went, 'Oh, my goodness!' "

Those touchdowns came on a direct-snap swoosh out of a wildhawk formation, followed by a crafty reverse out of the slotback position.

The Scarlet Knights, Peoples said, have targeted him as a running back, but don't be surprised if the depths of his versatility someday surface.

Though Peoples drew six offers and gave some thought to holding back his decision until he could check out UCLA, his only official visit was to Rutgers and no other school managed a close-runnerup finish.

He saw the Scarlet Knights practice last Thursday, then again on Saturday and, after staying overnight, he announced his intentions to Schiano in a Sunday morning meeting; Desmon's dad, Darrien, a former star running back at Abraham Lincoln and Kutztown, was also in the room.

"I didn't feel like I would meet a more genuine coach than coaxh Schiano," Desmon said. "So I decided to shut it down right after Saturday."

He loves, he added, that Schiano's FAMILY motto stands for Forget About Me; I Love You.

After coach Steve Devlin made a few remarks and turned over the press conference to Peoples, it appeared Desmon would be taking a no-fartin'-around approach. But after he reached under the table, his hands came up with small note cards, not a hat.

After expressing thanks to numerous folks, Peoples again reached under the table. At that very instant, in an Only in the Pub moment turned Catholic, most of a school banner affixed to the front of the table came loose and the black-and-red hat could be seen through the vacant area as he lifted toward his head. For the rest of the session, school administrator Tim Dunn remained at the side of the table, holding the banner in place.

Afterward, athletic director Joe Sette cracked, "Hey, we only have so much tape . . . Had to save some for the rest of these things."

Indeed. Four other Vikings have received Division 1 offers. Colin Thompson, a two-way end, boasts 20, Devlin said. The total is 14 for offensive lineman Frank Taylor and four apiece for OL Brandon Arcidiacono and defensive back Nate Smith, a recent transfer from George Washington. Devlin added he would not be surprised to see quarterback Joey Monaghan, d-back Kyle Adkins and rusher Brandon Peoples, Desmon's first cousin, also draw interest.

But this was Desmon's Day.

"Des feels this is a great spot for him footballwise, academically and socially," Devlin told the onlookers. "And he'll be close to his family, so they can watch play. Des is a great kid and Rutgers is very lucky to have him."

He first showed that, right up close, in Game 2 of the '09 season.

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Fortunat "Junior" Kangudi, a 6-8 center from Roman Catholic, has made an oral commitment to Rider . . . with an asterisk.

Roman coach Chris McNesby said Kangudi, a Canadian native whose first language is French, must pass a summer class at Rider to gain entrance to the school. It's possible, McNesby added, that Kangudi could still wind up at a prep school or junior college.

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