Recruiting was going swimmingly for Neiko Creamer as his junior season came to a close. He had a handful of offers, including ones from Auburn, Rutgers and Boston College, and he was readying for a big combine season.
Then, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and couldn't camp anywhere, couldn't hit the combine circuit and did not participate in the 7-on-7s his Eastern Christian Academy (Elkton, Md.) teammates usually dominate.
However, the 6-foot-3 Creamer reclassified into the 2014 class, is healthy, and schools are again paying attention. He said Rutgers was the only school to honor his offer after the injury, and Tennessee, where his father played, recently extended an offer. West Virginia is also recruiting him.
"It's picking back up because I'm kind of on the market again," Creamer said. "I can move, so now recruiters can watch me move. I took time to rebuild my whole body over the summer. I went from 205 to 220, and I'm probably faster and more explosive, a stronger lower body.
"The things I wanted to do last year, I think I got them accomplished while I was rehabilitating. I think everything is going well."
Creamer knows plenty about Rutgers because his teams, formerly Red Lion Christian Academy (Bear, Del.) and now ECA, frequently visit campus for camps and games. His latest visit came when the Scarlet Knights hosted Louisville a few weeks ago.
"I got to talk to coach (Kyle) Flood," Creamer said. "Myself, (Freddy) Canteen, (Vashon) Tucker, guys that got offered, we got some special love."
One of the things Rutgers is selling to Creamer is how big receivers can excel in its pro-style offense.
"What I like about Rutgers is I like their offensive style," he said. "They like big receivers. They find a way to make you a target. They find a way to train big receivers and make them great receivers, so if I had five offers right now, I'd have Rutgers in my top five."
Tennessee just offered, but Creamer knows about the program since his father, Andre, played there.
"Tennessee is a great program with history and tradition," Creamer said. "Also, I have a legacy to carry since my dad was an All-American there. And since I was a kid I always wanted to go there."
However, the offer by the Vols doesn't mean Creamer is locked in there. Another school he is paying attention to is West Virginia, especially since ECA teammates Wendell Smallwood and Daikiel Shorts are committed there.
"I like West Virginia a lot, and with Shorts and Smallwood being committed there, and they know the inside scoop," Creamer said. "And the inside scoop is they want to change their interior receivers. They want to be more of a balanced attack at receiver instead of more of the speed attack that they had in previous years since they moved to the Big 12, so I can take them into consideration as well."