Up until a couple weeks ago, Eric Margolis figured his future was in Division II football. That didn’t mean the Clarkstown South senior believed he couldn’t play at a higher level.
He knew he could. In fact, coaches told him exactly that.
“We all thought that I could play Division I,” Margolis said. “I was being told that even by Division III and II schools. They were surprised I didn’t have more Division I looks. It was just a matter of getting my name out there.”
With some assistance, Margolis not only saw his profile grow, he has the scholarship to prove he belonged. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound safety accepted a late offer from Rutgers on Tuesday night and officially signed with the school Wednesday.
He had made his first and only official visit there last weekend.
“It was late in the game, but I wasn’t caught off-guard by it,” Margolis said. “I’m grateful that Rutgers has given me this opportunity, but I always felt I could compete at the Big 10 level.”
Rutgers was the only FBS school to offer Margolis a scholarship. He had been offered by Rhode Island, an FCS program, and received strong interest from four other FCS schools: New Hampshire, Wagner, Coastal Carolina and Bryant.
Margolis said the efforts by Clarkstown South coach Mike Scarpelli and New Rochelle assistant Keith Fagan really sparked interest. Before they became involved, his recruitment had been populated by Division II programs.
Both Scarpelli and Fagan had a pre-existing relationship with Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood, who played at Iona and recruited locally when he was an assistant under Greg Schiano.
“They sent out highlight tapes, got on the phone with a bunch of coaches, emailed a bunch of coaches,” Margolis said.
“Really everything they could do, they did for me and I’m really grateful to both of them.”
Margolis is believed to be the first Clarkstown South football player to sign a scholarship with a FBS school since running back Jim Cann, who also went to Rutgers in 1984.
The school will hold a ceremony to celebrate Margolis’ commitment at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.