With Dallas Down, Osei is Center of Attention

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- At the final spring practice of the season, which leads into Saturday's spring game, ScarletReport.com caught up with centers Dallas Hendrikson and David Osei. Hendrikson discussed his thoughts on his injury and future with the program. Osei opened up on what he needs to change to prove he's a starter …

PISCATAWAY, N J -- David Osei is happy to be the starting center of the Scarlet Knights, but this isn't how he wanted it to happen To Osei, he wanted to earn the spot in competition, not get there because of an injury.

"Injuries come and go," Osei said after Thursday's practice "That's football Everyone here has played on a team where someone has went down before Everyone's always upset No one wants anybody hurt If somebody takes a spot, you want to win that spot."

With or without Dallas Hendrikson (season-ending knee surgery will happen next month), Osei said his focus does not change moving forward Between tomorrow's spring game and the start of training camp, the red-shirt sophomore has snapping at the top of his list.

"This summer, I'm going to work a ton of shotgun," Osei said "Under center, I've never had any trouble with it It's shotgun that used to give me a lot more trouble This spring, I've made huge strides at that, but I still want it to become automatic, where I can just do it and not even have to worry about it."

During the spring campaign, Osei worked at left tackle in addition to center because of his snapping issues Now that Hendrikson is on the shelf, however, Osei's lone focus is center.

The No 2 center spot is less clear moving forward.

Fifth-year senior Caleb Ruch has experience at center and will get a look, Schiano said Senior Art Forst, who already has starts at left guard, right guard and right tackle for Rutgers, tried out center at Thursday's practice as well.

"He's smart enough to know the position," said classmate and starting right tackle Desmond Stapleton "We might as well try him out there He did alright the first day."

Quarterback Chas Dodd was sad to lose Hendrikson, he said But before Dodd took the starting job from Tom Savage last season, he spent all of training camp with Osei and the second-team line.

Osei's style may even be an advantage for the 6-foot sophomore quarterback, he said.

"Last year, I worked a lot with Osei when I was [a backup]," Dodd said "I'm comfortable with Osei Just one thing, he sits a little higher than Dallas, so that kind of helps me a little bit, but I'm getting his snaps and I'm getting them fine."

Hendrikson, who just arrived on the Banks this semester, plans to finish up his final exams before meeting with the medical staff and coaching staff to schedule his knee surgery

After his surgery, Hendrikson will be as involved as possible with the team.

"It's tough to stay involved, but I just need to stay around the team as much as I can," Hendrikson said "Obviously, I'm going to go to every meeting and I'll go to every lift and do what I can It'll be a long journey, but I'll be OK and I'll be back."

Hendrikson can red-shirt without losing eligibility this season, which means the Scarlet Knights still get him for two years after he heals up.

"I need to get stronger in the weight room, so it could be a blessing in disguise," Hendrikson said.

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