Morning practices.

Timber Creek linebacker Quanzell Lambert said that was a big factor in his decision to attend Rutgers University on a football scholarship.

"They practice in the morning, so I won't have to miss labs in the afternoon," said Lambert, who plans to major in engineering.

Lambert is a top student with a 3.4 grade point average. He hopes to become a mechanical engineer.

The 6-2, 240-pound Lambert projects as an inside linebacker at Rutgers. He chose Rutgers among a final three that included Iowa and Nebraska, although he also seriously considered Northwestern, Oklahoma and Alabama.

Lambert said he started leaning strongly toward Rutgers after the end of last season. He said he developed a strong relationship with Rutgers assistant coach Phil Galiano, the brother of Camden Catholic quarterback Pete Galiano.

Phil Galiano attended Lambert's press conference at Timber Creek on Thursday.

Lambert said he was impressed by Rutgers' facilities, commitment to winning and status as a Big East Conference member. But he kept coming back to its engineering program and his ability to balance both schoolwork and sports.

"When people take a hard look at Rutgers, they realize how much is there," Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson said. "That's a team that will compete every year to play in a BCS bowl."

Lambert will sign his letter of intent on national signing day on Feb. 1. He led Timber Creek with 94 tackles this season as the Chargers went 12-0 and won the SJ Group 3 title.

Lambert's father, Herbert, said Rutgers' support system and academic reputation were major factors in his son's decision.

"We were looking for a family home and a strong academic school," Herbert Lambert said. "Football is what it is. Academics, that's his livlihood."

Quanzell Lambert said he would encourage current Timber Creek juniors such as defensive linemen Greg Webb and Dajaun Drennon to follow him to Rutgers.

Webb, Drennon, cornerback/running back Eric Church and defensive end/quarterback Myles Nash are participating in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl combine this week in San Antonio, according to Hinson.

-- Phil Anastasia