When Daryl Stephenson put on his Rutgers uniform for the first time, he noticed one thing — it was tight.
"It felt really great to put on my college uniform, but it's actually too tight," Stephenson said. "I really can't breathe in it."
Stephenson said the uniform and conditioning drills were signs that he needs to reshape his body to compete for time on the defensive line.
Reporting at 275 pounds and 26 percent body fat, Stephenson said getting in shape is important to him. He looks forward to spending time with strength and conditioning coach Jay Butler now that he is a member of the Scarlet Knights.
"I want to compete," Stephenson said." I want to play. I think if I do my best and focus on the moment, I can do that right away. ... Being in shape is important."
The first practice caught Stephenson by surprise, he said, but was perfectly comfortable after a quick adjustment period.
"At first, the practices were tough because I didn't know what to do, but I'm learning the process," he said. "I'm getting good advice from the older guys. I'm getting mentally quick. They really help me a lot."
Fullback Paul Canevari continued the building Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J.) pipeline when he joined quarterback Gary Nova in Rutgers' 2011 recruiting class. Canevari said his time at Rutgers reminds him of his high school and that he is happy to be in Piscataway.
"It's good to get going and finally starting my new career," Canevari said. "I got here early, did summer classes and everything. Everyone's taken me in, just like brothers.
"Coach Hewitt is always teaching us good stuff and new techniques. It's a brotherhood and everyone is teaching each other everything."
Canevari, who came in expecting to work somewhere in the backfield and on special teams, is listed as a fullback on the Rutgers roster.
"It's always been my dream ever since I was a little kid to play college ball," he said. "I have that chance and I won't waste it."
Canevari's first training camp, he said, is about taking in the learning process.
"Always ask questions," he said. "Always be on-time. Treat it like it's your job. ... I need to play fast. Everyone's bigger. Everyone's better. It's a different level."
Bringing in walk-on punter Justin Doerner was a wake-up call to true freshman Anthony DiPaula. DiPaula admittedly struggled at the beginning of the spring, but said his confidence is high after he got more comfortable.
"The best thing about this camp is my confidence," DiPaula said. "I feel like a college football player. I'm more confident in my steps and my swing and everything. My get-off is a lot quicker. I just have to work on the little things.
"I really feel like I carried over my confidence from the end of spring. Everything is just going uphill from here."
With camp broken, the position battle at punter remains unannounced by coach Greg Schiano.
"Justin and I have to compete with each other and push each other every day," DiPaula said. "We'll see how it goes. It's good that he's here and it's good that I'm here for him because we can work with each other. I definitely see this as a positive."
DiPaula added that he is happy to be teammates with quarterback Mike Bimonte.
"We were really good friends growing up and played Pop Warner together," DiPaula said. "We went to different high schools, but now we're back together. It was fun having him around this summer."