Wharton Settling in for First Spring

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- It is the first spring at Rutgers for red-shirt freshman defensive back Isaiah Wharton, and confidence is high after his first Big Ten offseason. Wharton spoke 1-on-1 with Scout after practice about early strides, his best position and the chance to step up in spring because of injuries elsewhere.

With starters Nadir Barnwell and Anthony Cioffi down, younger defensive backs face a decisive spring ripe with opportunity at Rutgers.

Isaiah Wharton spent his first semester on the scout team where he excelled at both safety and cornerback against the first-team offense. This spring, he faces the offensive two-deep as one of the top healthy cornerbacks on the roster.

"It's a big opportunity because one thing about Cioffi and Nadir, we're a team," Wharton said. "They help me. Yeah, I'm taking their reps because they're down, but we're one DB core and we're trying to be the best DB core in the nation."

Head coach Kyle Flood said last week that he could see cornerbacks also work at safety this spring. Wharton is a prime candidate at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds heading into his second season.

"I think I'm an athlete," Wharton said. "If a safety goes down, a nickel, a corner, it doesn't matter. Special teams, I think I can play a lot of positions."

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