Rutgers senior Jeremy Deering is a good athlete who is one of the most versatile players in the nation.
While that versatility probably has hurt Deering's college career because he hasn't been able to settle in at one position, it should make him more intriguing to NFL scouts.
Deering (6-feet-2, 200 pounds) has good speed and size; he combines a burst with elusiveness and also has good hands. He has played wide receiver and running back for the Scarlet Knights, and has been an effective kick returner. This fall, for the first time since his senior season in high school, Deering will play defense: He is the all-but-certain starter at free safety, one of three new starters for the Scarlet Knights in the secondary.
Deering played all over the field in high school at Tampa Leto; even then, his versatility was a selling point, with schools such as Florida, Florida State, Purdue and South Carolina recruiting him to play running back, wide receiver, safety and even cornerback. He signed with Rutgers in February 2010 and started five games at wide receiver for the Scarlet Knights that fall. He also saw extensive time as quarterback in a "Wildcat" set and was second on the team in rushing with 352 yards and two TDs. He also had 16 receptions.
He moved to tailback in 2011; he played in 12 games and started once. He rushed for just 169 yards, though he did finish fourth nationally in kickoff returns at 31.2 yards per attempt. Deering played tailback and wide receiver last season but had just one reception and six carries despite playing in all 12 games and starting twice.
During the spring, Deering was moved to free safety and has looked good there.
"The biggest part of the transition happened in the spring," coach Kyle Flood told the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press this week. "It's a big transition, but I don't think he sees it that way. ... We look at him as a player who had an entire spring to play safety and an entire summer to work on his skill set. Even though he hasn't gotten a chance to play in a game yet, he is a little [further] along in the process."
Deering is the one of the few seniors in the secondary, and though he is new to his position, coaches are counting on his leadership ability to help the revamped group mesh. Deering feels his travails at Rutgers will help in that regard.
"I feel like I've got something out of everything," Deering told the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press. "You learn from every experience. I don't look back on it and think, 'I wish I would've stayed here or I wish I would've been here.' I just move forward. Learn this position right now. I was pretty excited about a new challenge. I was up for it."