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Dezaria Johnson pens NLI to play softball at Rutgers
Dezaria Johnson
Dezaria Johnson sits around her family as she pens her NLI to play softball at Rutgers. - photo by Garrett Pitts

With her four-year Eastside career behind her, Dezaria “Z” Johnson solidified her future plans. On Wednesday morning, Johnson signed the dotted line of her NLE to Rutgers.

The signing comes less than 24 hours after Johnson announced her commitment to become a Scarlet Knight.

For Johnson, the attitude within the Rutgers program was one of the major factors in her decision.

“The coaches made me feel like I was at home, and it is close to New York which is something I like the most,” Johnson said. “I just felt like I was at home when I went on my visits.”

The commitment to become part of the Scarlet Knights’ softball program came after a successful career as part of the Lady Eagles.

Johnson played key parts in Eastside’s playoff runs in 2022 and 2023.

As she plans for her trip to New Jersey, Johnson is looking to build upon her career on the diamond at Rutgers right away.

“I am looking forward to going in as a freshman and just giving it my all. [Rutgers is getting] a leader, even as a freshman,” Johnson said. “[I am] a hard working, determined player.”

In her final season, Johnson was named to the Region 8-AAAAA First Team.

Johnson finished the year with a .452 batting average with three home runs and 33 runs batted in. On the mound, Johnson had a 10-3 record overall with a 1.97 earned run average.

Following the event, Lady Eagles’ head coach Heather Wood spoke about what Johnson has meant to the Eastside softball program over the last four seasons.

“I have been fortunate to coach her all four years here. She has been a vital part of our team’s success the last four years,” Wood said. “Rutgers is getting a very dynamic player. For us, she has contributed in so many different ways — defensively, offensively and on the mound. She has natural athleticism.”