Defensive end David Milewski already opted not to apply for a sixth year of eligibility, and a former Parlin (N.J.) Sayreville teammate and fellow member of Rutgers’ defensive line could also end his career a year early.
Scarlet Knights defensive tackle Daryl Stephenson posted on is Facebook account earlier this week about his “last lift ever,” referring to the weight lifting program at Rutgers, and also posted “done after this year.”
However, following Saturday’s practice as Rutgers prepares for Friday’s Quick Lane Bowl against North Carolina, Stephenson said he was not 100 percent his career would end with that game.
“I don’t know yet. I’m still thinking about it,” said Stephenson, a second-team defensive tackle. “It’s been a long time and I’ve been injured a lot. It’s all the injuries. My foot is still hurting me, my back and my shoulder still hurts.”
Stephenson was injured in 2011, his freshman season, and received a medical red-shirt season. Injuries also kept him off the field in 2012. He played 25 games the last two seasons, making a total of 22 tackles, and has 11 tackles in 12 games this season.
However, he said he still enjoys playing and won’t make his final decision for a few weeks.
“I think I’m going to sit down with the staff and talk about it,” Stevenson said. Probably when I come back in January, we’ll sit down and talk about it.”
Stephenson’s brother, Delon Stephenson, will be a junior next season, but staying on to enjoy one more season with him won’t play much of a factor in his decision.
“It might a little bit, but I don’t know yet,” Daryl Stephenson said. “I’m really close to him and Lump (offensive tackle Keith Lumpkin), so I don’t know. They haven’t really said anything yet, and if you know my brother, he doesn’t talk that much.”
Stephenson is set to graduate in the spring with a degree in labor studies and African studies, and he is adding a minor in human resources.
But with potentially less than a week left in his football career, Stephenson said his focus is on North Carolina.
“I’m still enjoying it,” he said. “I’m not really thinking that. I want to play the last game of the season, and have a good one.”