Weight Room. Run Support Focus for Turay

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Sophomore Rutgers defensive end Kemoko Turay discusses the moment he realized that 235 pounds is not enough in the Big Ten and his offseason work to bulk up and improve upon a stellar first season.

The Rutgers game at Ohio State – NCAA National Champion – woke up the program in many ways.

Kemoko Turay was not exception.

The lanky red-shirt freshman defensive end’s speed was enough in the first half of the season, but his slight frame haunted him in the 56-17 loss against the Buckeyes.

“I realized that [I needed to gain weight] when I went to Ohio State,” said the 236-pound Turay after the fifth of 15 spring practices. “One of the guys picked me up like ‘where you going?’ That, and looking down at somebody, was an embarrassment for me. I really felt like I needed to gain weight.”

Turay’s evolution from pass rusher to complete player becomes essential after two years in a college program.

His first varsity football snap did not come until after his 17th birthday, and the raw Newark (N.J.) Barringer athlete looks to follow Big Ten defensive ends like Nebraska’s Randy Gregory.

Turay led Rutgers with 7.5 sacks, but the conference knew him best as the special teams ace that won a 26-24 game against Michigan with a blocked field goal.

“We want him to be a first-, second,- third-down guy," said head coach Kyle Flood. "We want to play him a lot. He is in great condition, so that is not the issue. We know how valuable and how impactful he is on third down but the great players play on all downs. That's what we want him to do."

Turay credits defensive line coach Jim Panagos with his development so far, but said he has a long way to go and a lot of weight to put onto his 6-foot-6 frame.

“It’s not a secret that I’m still skinny,” Turay said. “It’s hard. It’s really hard. I’ll weight myself and be 240 and then lose 10 pounds by the time I wake up and go to class. I know I can use my athleticism as an athlete, but I need to be a more complete player this season – a bigger guy.”

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