Graves is ready to take abilities to the next level


Staff Writer

Fans of Woodbridge High School football were lucky enough to watch Shamar Graves dominate the football field over the last few seasons.

Now they’re hoping to see him do the same thing for Rutgers University.

Graves may surprise Rutgers fans with his ability on the football field, but Woodbridge football fans have watched him dazzle for some years now, and fully expect him to make an impact for the Scarlet Knights sooner rather than later.

Graves was named to the First-Team All-Greater Middlesex Conference and All-Red Division teams during his high school career and caught 26 passes for 172 yards in his senior year at Woodbridge. He also played basketball, leading Woodbridge to its first state tournament berth in six years, and also ran track.

But for now, Graves is concerned with grades and playing football at Rutgers University, and is not afraid to admit that he has a lot to learn about playing college football.

“I have to learn the college game,” he said. “I have to learn the different defenses that will be thrown at me. I have to learn the offense. I have to learn where to be on every play. I am learning though.”

It has been Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano’s ability to get Graves reps in training camp, which has helped Graves improve so far in training camp.

“I am getting more reps. I am getting extra work in at practice. I am doing all I can do to make myself a better football player,” Graves said.

Graves brought a great physicality to the wide receiver position at Woodbridge. Graves now listed at 6-3, 210 pounds, and hopes to bring the same type of physical presence when he plays at Rutgers. But being physical isn’t all that his game is about.

“I try to bring toughness and be a physical presence on the field,” he said. “I have always tried and continue to try to make myself a strong receiver. I want to be able to make plays across the middle of the field. I am there to block if need be. I just am going to use my size to my advantage.”

Graves says his best attribute is his “physical aggressiveness.”

However, he is humble enough to admit that, “every part of my game can be improved.”

Woodbridge High School played a major part in his life and his football career.

“Woodbridge High School was a positive experience for me,” he said. “We had winning seasons despite experiencing adversity. Coach Brian Russo helped develop me as a football player, and I had lots of fun playing football at Woodbridge.”

And his old football coach has nothing but good things to say about his former player.

“Shamar is a great kid. He is extremely physical and brings a lot to the table,” Russo said.

“His strength is his burst. He’s a really good athlete. I see a very good future for him at Rutgers.”

Graves said he chose Rutgers because, “it is a great environment, and it is close to home.”