Hamilton's leadership role increases with many departures on the defensive side of the ball. His importance inside rises significantly without Scott Vallone.
Spring Performance -- Hamilton had the type of spring to be expected of a player of his caliber. Rutgers needed a consistent, strong performance with minimal depth at defensive tackle and Hamilton delivered.
Rutgers has few options at 3-technique inside and Hamilton showed new defensive coordinator Dave Cohen that an offseason in the weight room and film room has him ready for a starting role.
Expected 2013 Role -- Expect Hamilton to start and be one of the most-used players in an eight- or nine-man defensive line rotation. There is not a lot of depth at the 3-tech coming out of spring, so look for position changes or young players to get plenty of opportunities behind Hamilton. The starting duties, like the end of last season, fall primarily on Hamilton.
Scouting Report -- Hamilton is bigger and stronger than when he arrived, but size continues to be the main concern with his game. He will be up nearly 15 pounds by the time Rutgers kicks off against Fresno State, but a 260-pound 3-tech is still undersized by BCS standards. Hamilton does not have the quickness off the edge to remain and end and, inside, his elite technique makes up for being a few pounds underweight.
A 3-technique primarily works on the B-gap and Hamilton has the hands and burst off the snap to compete with most guards and centers. What he lacks in size, Hamilton makes up for in technique after spending most of his life learning from his father Keith Hamilton.
The hands, footwork, knowledge and passion have all arrived for Hamilton, who needs to use training camp to get tougher and more used to a full college game of contact. With Vallone gone and Merrell outside, Rutgers needs Hamilton to be the play-maker between the tackles and improve his pass rushing skills up the middle.
The Bottom Line -- Hamilton is already one of the top young linemen in the AAC, but get him 10 percent bigger and 10 percent stronger and the same will be true in the Big Ten.