21 in 21: DT Kevin Wilkins

The 21 in 21 series concludes Monday with a look at defensive tackle Kevin Wilkins. Wilkins will be a late arrival to Piscataway, but expects to be on campus in time for the start of training camp. We present the final 21 in 21 piece in a Q&A format with the always honest lineman from Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph Regional.

ScarletReport.com -- You're going to be enrolling a little later than everyone else. Why is that?

Kevin Wilkins --"I had a private tutor during summer school my sophomore year, and the NCAA doesn't accept private tutoring. We weren't able to send that work in to them, so I have to take those classes over again. Right after that, I should be at school at the end of July."

SR.com -- How excited are you to get this thing going?

KW -- "I'm ready to start a new chapter in my life. High school is over, and it's a whole different ball game up there in academics and with football. I've matured a lot over the last two years, and I'm not going to stop. I know that if I can manage my time, I'll be fine up there. Freshman year is a little tough. You're not as close with your professors. It's going to be different, but I like different."

SR.com -- How much did the Rutgers staff and [former St. Joseph coach] Tony Karcich help you get to this point?

KW -- "It takes a lot to admit that what you did was wrong. It takes a man to turn it all around, and that's what I've done. I'm still working hard. I'm not a quitter. They've been there to motivate me. All of those guys care about me. They just make me want to work harder. They'll do anything to help me, and I'm inspired by that."

SR.com -- You've talked before about people doubting your abilities. Is that a motivation for you at Rutgers?

SR.com -- "I can't wait to get out there and showcase my skills and everything. Everyone's always talking about, ‘oh he takes plays off. He comes and goes all the time.' They said the same things about Jadeveon Clowney. I'm not Jadeveon Clowney. My name is Kevin Wilkins, and when I get there, I'm going to show you what that means. They know what type of kid I am. They know how big I am. All of those guys who talk about us, we're going to prove them wrong."

SR.com -- Is it the same feeling for people who talk negatively about Rutgers?

KW -- "Of course we're going to hear that stuff. We're going into the Big Ten and we didn't do that well in the Big East. We're going to go in there and change their opinions. The worst thing they could do is overlook us. We're a very solid team this year, and we have some kids coming in that are going to make a big impact. I don't think they're going to be ready for us, and I think we're going to shock a couple of people."

SR.com -- Are you excited to play again with Darius Hamilton like in the Don Bosco Prep days?

KW -- "When I told him I was going to commit, he was just like ‘be ready. I'm going to push you just like I did when you were a freshman. You've got to be ready to work hard. It's not going to be easy at all. It's time to grow up.' He's going to be like my brother there, and I can't wait to play with him again."

SR.com -- Do you feel ready to play for such an amped up coach like [defensive line coach] Jim Panagos?

KW -- He's a great guy. I'm excited to play with him because he's one of those coaches. When they get on you, you know that they care about you. That's how I felt when I was at Bosco with [now Rutgers assistant Anthony] Campanile. Both of them give the feeling that they want what's best for you. Coach P has that. He's always wanting you to get better, whether you're a first-team guy or third-team guy."

SR.com -- Any concerns about the time you'll miss in June and July with workouts?

KW -- "It's no different. I get up at 5:30 every morning with my brother to go lift at school. I'm doing the same thing they're doing, maybe even harder. Every morning at 5:30. I'm up and ready to go. I'm getting used to their schedule. I've been doing it for a couple of months now, lifing every morning."

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