National Signing Day 2011: Sleeper Recruit Paul Canevari Signs with Rutgers

Josh RosenbergCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2011

Paul Canevari runs for one of the five touchdowns that he scored against football powerhouse Bergen Catholic.
Paul Canevari runs for one of the five touchdowns that he scored against football powerhouse Bergen Catholic.

With all the buzz over highly-ranked recruits such as Savon Huggins and Rutgers' new recruiting class that is the highest-ranked class in school history, one very important recruit flew under the radar.

That recruit goes by the name of Paul Canevari. Canevari played his high school football at Don Bosco Prep—the top high school team in New Jersey and the sixth-best team in the US. Canevari is 6'0", 207 pounds and played defensive end his first two seasons before moving to running back for his senior year.

This move paid dividends for Don Bosco as Canevari ran for 1,763 yards and 32 touchdowns on only 215 carries. If you're wondering, that's 8.2 yards per carry.

Canevari, nicknamed "The Bull," by his teammates for his bruising, Peyton Hillis-style running, seems to play his best in big games. In the state championship game against the No. 3 New Jersey team Bergen Catholic, Canevari ran for 264 yards and five touchdowns in a 37-27 win.

Despite all this Paul Canevari is only listed as a 2-star recruit.  Don Bosco consistently turns out Division I talent such as Ryan Grant, Mike Teel and recent Chicago Bears draft pick Corey Wootton.  They also play against top teams in New Jersey each year so it's not as if Canevari was this successful against weak competition.

With all the buzz about Rutgers' 5-star recruit Savon Huggins, Ben Martin and current running backs Jordan Thomas, DeAntwan Williams and Joe Martinek it's unlikely that Canevari was recruited to play running back in college.

Rutgers also already has tons of depth at linebacker and defensive end as well as many good recruits coming in to play those positions.

It looks as though Canevari will play fullback at Rutgers.  This move makes sense because he has great size for a fullback and the way he runs is by bulldozing people.  Bulldozers make good fullbacks.

Rutgers also has struggled mightily to fill the void at fullback left by Jack Corcoran after he graduated in 2009.  In 2010, now-sixth-year senior Edmond Laryea played the first two games at fullback only to injure his leg and miss the rest of the season.

Former highly-touted fullback recruit Robert Joseph, a Jack Corcoran clone, missed his second straight season with a torn ACL and it is unknown how he will perform this spring.  This goes for Laryea too.

Nick Depaula started the rest of Rutgers' games at fullback this past season but didn't perform that well.

Canevari has all the physical tools to be a force at fullback from day one at Rutgers.  Canevari might fight for playing time or get redshirted his freshman season but watch out for him in 2012.  He will definitely compete for the starting job by then.

This brings up a fun new question for Rutgers Nation:

Will the tandem of Savon Huggins and Paul Canevari be an even greater force than former Rutgers backfield greats Ray Rice and Brian Leonard?

To track where all the top recruits signed, click here.