In front of over a hundred family and friends, St. Anthony’s Korey Duff Jr. announced his college commitment to Rutgers as the top-ranked tight end prospect in the state Thursday. NewsdayTV’s Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Morgan Campbell

When it came right down to it, St. Anthony's Korey Duff Jr. was all about committing to the very first school that showed interest in his athletic talents on the gridiron.

"You have to make sure you leave no stone unturned,” Duff Jr. said. “You must try and enjoy the process and let it all play out and see what best fits your needs and where you feel the most comfortable.”

And when it was all said and done, Duff Jr. and his family weighed all the options and pluses and minuses, and it circled all the way back to his very first NCAA Division I offer — the first college that showed him love.  

Duff Jr. had 27 Division I offers to choose from. They included Miami, Texas, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, Rutgers, West Virginia, Tulane, Texas A&M, Duke, and Arizona State.

The four-star recruit, according to 247 Sports Composite ranking, had narrowed his final decision to UNC, Rutgers, and Miami.

"I will be playing football for Rutgers University,” Duff Jr. announced Thursday night at the Main Event in Farmingdale surrounded by about 130 friends, teammates and family members. “It just felt right. They were the first school to offer, and we built a solid relationship right away. I trust and believe in their staff.”

The star wide receiver, who helped St. Anthony’s win the school’s first state CHSFL championship, was the No. 1 tight end prospect in New York and ranked 17th at the position nationally.

He was the No. 2 overall prospect in the state.

"Both of my parents were heavily involved in my development and it’s great to know they’re in my corner and want the best for me,” Duff Jr. said. “I’m blessed with a wonderful family foundation and my second family that I’ve built at St. Anthony’s High School.”

The 6-5, 208-pounder was unstoppable in the Friars offense. He finished with 42 receptions for 995 yards and 12 touchdowns with an average of 23.7 yards per catch. His signature game came in a 50-18 win over Iona Prep to earn the CHSFL Class AAA title. He had four TD catches and 205 yards receiving in the win.

"We are so proud of his accomplishments in the classroom and on the field,” said his father Korey Duff Sr. “I haven’t missed a game since he was playing PAL football for the Riverhead Blue Waves and Longwood Lions and then for Alvin Brown and the Freeport Red Ravens. He picked Rutgers because they were relentless from the start. The coaches showed they really cared and made him a top priority. KJ feels he’s a wide receiver not a tight end and they’re giving him a chance to play wide receiver and play in his freshman year and contribute immediately.”

Duff Jr. said he learned a lot during the recruiting process, which had a little bit of everything.

"I’m happy it’s finally come to an end, and I’ll be in a place that will fit me best,” he said. “Playing for St. Anthony’s in the best league in New York opened a lot of doors. The competition in our schedule, winning a state championship, it was all great.”

Newsday LogoCovering LI news as it happensDigital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months