Big DT Chooses Rutgers Walk-on Opportunity

The New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford connection strengthened yet again this week when 6-foot-5, 325-pound defensive tackler Kenneth Roman targeted Rutgers as his preferred walk-on destination. Roman spoke in-depth with Scout about what led him to the Big Ten.

A combination of happenstance and recruiting connections has New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford defensive tackle Kenneth Roman on his way to Rutgers as a preferred walk on.

A mountain nose tackle at 6-foot-6, 325 pounds, Roman plans to enroll at Rutgers after he received academic clearance out of prep school at the start of the week.

“I’m excited,” said Roman, who plans to visit for a spring practice. “They’re pretty close to home. I’ve always wanted to play against schools against Penn State and Ohio State, and not many people have that opportunity.”

Rutgers was not on the radar for Roman until a chance meeting with linebackers coach Bob Fraser at his high school. While Fraser visited Hawley (Pa.) Wallenpaupack High to see 2016 target Rashawn Battle, he met Roman in the weight room and sparked his recruitment.

“That was the first time I met him,” Roman said. “I shook his hand and we talked about if I committed anywhere and what my college recruitment looked like. He was telling me that Rutgers doesn’t have that many big linemen that are over 300 pounds. From there on, I’ve just been talking to him and he’s been checking in on me.”

Roman’s size gives him a unique edge upon enrollment with two-deep nose tackles Sebastian Joseph and Kevin Wilkins both below 300 pounds.

“Hopefully I can get some playing time early,” he said. “Maybe I’ll red-shirt and get bigger and stronger and be ready for my second year. I’m just excited.”

The big defensive tackle joins four other committed Milford players at Rutgers – cornerback Blessuan Austin, linebacker Sidney Gopre, fullback Conor Dowd and receiver JoJo Gause. Roman chose Milford after he graduated from Wallenpaupack to improve his grades, and celebrated his 19th birthday early with college eligibility.

“Milford was great for me,” he said. “I was stuck up in the middle of nowhere for three months just working hard, three-a-days, classroom and everything. They have a lot of college connections, so I knew it was a good choice for me. …

The Scarlet Knights won out over a preferred walk-on offer from Temple and a few smaller scholarship opportunities, Roman said.

“I’m looking forward to playing with kids that I’ve already met before,” he said. “It was like a family at Milford and we all came together from all over the place. Rutgers is going to be like that.”

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