Early Enrollment Spotlight: DT Eric Wiafe

ScarletReport.com's early enrollment spotlight now shines on defensive tackle Eric Wiafe. Signing with Rutgers as a class of 2013 prospect, Wiafe spent the fall at New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy to prep for the Big Ten.

Defensive tackle Eric Wiafe is proud of his time at New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy, but he is even prouder of the fact that he can put prep school behind him.

Wiafe spent the summer at Rutgers expecting to suit up for practice in August. After academic questions out of high school, Wiafe instead had to head to Milford for prep school. By November, however, he had the grades he needed and clearance to enroll for the spring semester.

"It was one of the hardest things I've had to do, but I knew I just needed to keep working hard," Wiafe said. "I was talking to [defensive line coach Jim Panagos] every week. He just kept telling me to keep it up because he wanted to coach me at Rutgers."

Wiafe signed with Rutgers in February with the idea of starting him off as a defensive end. That plan changed when Wiafe grew to 6-foot-5, 265 pounds during his time at prep school.

Playing 3-technique for Milford, he will do the same at Rutgers this spring with the hopes of learning from junior standout Darius Hamilton – his roommate.

"I think it's the best fit for me," Wiafe said. "I've played 3-tech before, so it's no problem. If that's where the coaches want me, I'm ready to go."

One of the biggest lessons Wiafe learned while away from New Jersey and his home in Egg Harbor (N.J.) was persistence.

"I have to stay on top of my opportunities," Wiafe said. "Early enrollment is a big opportunity, and coach Flood wants me to take advantage of it. He's giving this opportunity to us to show what we can produce on the field."

Signing as a member of the 2013 class, Wiafe said he is particularly excited to be classmates with his old crop of recruits.

"Seeing these guys again, it was kind of like de ja vu," he said. "I mean, I didn't see them since the summer because I had to go to prep school. It feels like I'm back with my family."

The goal for Wiafe, he said, is to edge closer to 280 pounds before Rutgers starts to play in the Big Ten.

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