Emotional Day for Roommate Nova, Johnson

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Moving night proved emotional Sunday for departing Rutgers seniors Gary Nova and Kaleb Johnson. Longtime roommates, Nova and Johnson completed their final practice at Rutgers Monday and go their separate ways after the Detroit Quicklane Bowl.

Somewhere on the backgrounds of Rutgers campus, the finality of the moment hit longtime roommates Gary Nova and Kaleb Johnson.

Driving to drop off a mattress, the packed up their apartment and reality set in.

“It was actually weird,” said Nova, a two-time captain. “Me and Kaleb are usually joking around with each other, but then we were driving dropping off his mattress somewhere. He kind of looked at me and was like, ‘damn man. It’s starting to hit me.’ Then it kind of just sunk in that moment. It’s going to be our last moment at the apartment and our last time living together.”

Nova and Johnson have 89 career Rutgers starts between them, and lived together alongside Savon Huggins since their freshman year. Sunday was the last night in their Rutgers apartment as the final game approaches.

Neither has a return trip to Rutgers booked after the Quicklane Bowl.

“I am naturally an emotional person,” Johnson said. “I’m just trying to keep it all under control right now. I moved out of my apartment last night, so I’m not coming back after the game. It’s kind of emotional. I’m just trying to focus on the game and do everything I can do get the win.”

Johnson plans on a winter in Florida with family, including 2016 four-star prospect Jordan Johnson, and NFL training. He is 10 credits away from a degree in psychology, which he plans to complete in the 2016 spring semester.

“It was very emotional last night,” Johnson said. “We’re just sitting there talking about old memories and stuff like that. I’ve got to hold it together for now. We have a big game to play. I’ll think about it later.

“It means the world to have one more game with the guys. It’s time to go out there and put a closing mark on my career.”

Nova’s plans are less finite, but his return to New Jersey will be in Elmwood Park and not Piscataway.

“I’ll probably spend some time at home and just relax and try to get my body feeling as good as it can and start training,” Nova said.

Nova and Johnson practiced Monday for the final time at the Rutgers facilities. Their next time in the bubble likely comes in March at pro day.

“I’m a pretty mellow guy, but when me and [Michael] Burton were stretching, it just kind of hits you,” Nova said. “You just appreciate everything that you’ve gone through. You just appreciate all the last moments as they come.”


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