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FOOTBALL: Pennsbury OL J.J. Denman switches gears, commits to play for Rutgers

A weekend visit to Rutgers prompted J.J. Denman, a mammoth offensive lineman from Pennsbury, to withdraw his commitment to Wisconsin and commit to playing for the Scarlet Knights.

"I just felt it was the best thing for me and my family," the 6-foot-6, 310-pound senior, a two-time Inquirer first-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection, said Monday.

Denman, projected to be an offensive tackle in college, first committed to Penn State last May. He switched to Wisconsin, following an official visit to Madison, in mid-October.

Six assistants have left Wisconsin boss Bret Bielema's staff in the last few weeks, including offensive line coach Bob Bostad. Bostad departed to become offensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh, but could wind up as the offensive line coach for the NFL's Chicago Bears.

"I just don't feel like I have a relationship with any of the guys there now," said Denman, a four-star recruit ranked 17th among offensive tackles in the Class of 2012 by

Of the Rutgers staff, the 18-year-old said, "I've known them for a long time. I'm real close with the guy who recruited me [tight ends coach Brian Angelichio.]"

It was rumored that Denman would take a second visit to Wisconsin, to meet with new offensive line coach Mike Markuson, this weekend. "I'm not going," he said.

The Yardley resident joins two players from PIAA Class AAA state champion Archbishop Wood, offensive lineman Brandon Arcidiacono and running back Desmon Peoples, in committing to the Scarlet Knights.

"This wasn't easy," Denman said, "but I know I made the right choice."

-Rick O'Brien