Competitive Spring for Wilkins

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Kevin Wilkins came a long way from the guy that arrived late to Rutgers last spring. The near 300-pound nose tackle finds himself solidly in a defensive line rotation for spring camp, and discussed his role and progress with Scout during the first week of practice.

Kevin Wilkins and Sebastian Joseph face a heated position battle at the nose tackle spot come training camp, but both can expect key roles at the position regardless.

Both enter spring with limited experience – Joseph has more after a bench role as a red-shirt freshman. Both aim to impresses coaches Joe Rossi and Jim Panagos through spring practice.

“I’m an athletic kid,” Wilkins said. “Sebastian and I are kind of the same person. We’re very athletic. We’re very physical. We have a lot of passion, and we care about what we do, so I think that’s what we have.”

Wilkins nearly earned a spot on the two-deep as a true freshman while other defensive linemen battled injuries. The Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph Regional and Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep product is glad he stayed off the field in 2014.

“I was excited that I kind of red-shirted because it gave me [time] to work on academics,” Wilkins said. “Get in the weight room and get physical because college is a lot different from high school. In high school, I had no technique. I can be honest with you. I just threw people around. I got out there and made tackles. Out here, it’s not finesse but you’ve got to be physical but you’ve got to have technique at the same time.”

Wilkins cited Darius Hamilton, former Don Bosco teammate, as an initial draw to Rutgers during recruiting. The two have a decent chance of starting alongside each other in the trenches during Hamilton’s season season.

“He’s like my bigger brother,” Wilkins said. “There’s pictures from us at Bosco when he used to give me pep talks before all of our games when I started as a sophomore. … At the end of the day, I’ve always looked up to him and I always will.”

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