by Tom Luicci
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 5, 2014) – When Jeremy Deering made the decision to graduate on time this month instead of postponing his final semester to prepare for the NFL Draft – a common practice among college football players – it wasn’t advice from any particular person that convinced him to do so.
It was the calendar.
“At first I was going to take this semester off to just train, and I talked to a lot of people about the positives and negatives of doing that,” said Deering, Rutgers’ starting free safety last season. “Then I was looking at the graduation dates and I saw that the graduation day for my major (Labor Studies and Employment Relations) was May 17. That’s my mom’s birthday.
“She passed away my freshman year here. When I saw graduation was May 17 for me I said `I have to go ahead and finish (school).’ It would have made her so proud to see me graduate. Out of my mom’s five kids I’ll be the first one to graduate college. So it’s a big deal.”
Deering’s ability to graduate in four years is even more impressive when set against the backdrop of his constantly-changing athletic career.
A starter or key contributor all four seasons, he played Wildcat quarterback, wide receiver and running back before being made the starting free safety as a senior. That’s in addition to his solid production as a kickoff returner (he led the Big East with a 31.2-yard kickoff return average in 2011).
“The way I looked at the position changes is I learned something new almost every day,” said the Tampa, Fla., native. “I saw it as a part of life. You have to adjust to your situation and your environment and that’s what I did. Life is about dealing with things you can’t control.”
That’s a lesson that will come in handy for the start of the NFL Draft on Thursday. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Deering, who impressed pro scouts at Rutgers’ Pro Day, said he will watch all three days of the Draft – but isn’t overly concerned if his name gets called.
“It won’t matter to me if I get drafted or not,” he said. “That’s not really what I’m worried about. I just want an opportunity to show what I can do, whether I’m drafted or a free agent. From there I’ll make something of it. That’s the way I’m looking at it.”
And, of course, there’s always his college degree to fall back on.
“I learned so much in my four years here – and I learned a lot about myself,” he said. “I grew up as a man. I feel like whatever happens to me in life that I’m prepared for it.”