Denman Continues Anchor Work at RT

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- J.J. Denman went from bench contributor in 2014 to Rutgers' steadiest spring linemen after a full role in all 12 practices to date. Groomed as the next Scarlet Knight starting right tackle, Denman spoke with Scout about Kemoko Turay's sack-filled Saturday and a push to the spring game with just eight healthy linemen.

It is the spring of opportunity for junior J.J. Denman, and the Rutgers starting right tackle wants a proper exclamation point in Friday night’s spring game.

Denman steps into the spotlight as the feature right tackle after Taj Alexander’s offseason departure. As one of just eight offensive linemen projected healthy for Friday, he wants every snap.

“I definitely like my situation,” Denman said. “I like getting so many reps. I like playing against a D-line as talented as we have. I personally feel after a year in the Big Ten after watching guys at different schools, we have a big-time defensive line right now. That gets us ready.”

That “big-time defensive line” featured a disruptive Kemoko Turay in Saturday’s scrimmage. The athletic sophomore end sacked Rutgers quarterbacks three times before he took a spot on the bench for the good of the offense.

“I definitely like that,” Denman said. “Obviously we should have been better, but I’m thankful that we have a guy like that, who’s going to show something so positive. He’s going to win games for us. … He’s going to get us ready as an offensive line.”

Denman settled in at right tackle early in his Rutgers career. He initially expected a role at guard. When that changed, it was for the best in his eyes.

“I always wanted to play tackle,” Denman said. “When I finally got the opportunity to do that, it just felt right. It’s the most natural feel for me.”

Rutgers sits two practices away from its spring game and the night cap on this semester’s football work.

The offensive line has a lot of work left, and only eight healthy men in the final week.

“I’m looking forward to this to top off all of the time we’ve spent together this spring,” Denman said. “We still have a lot of things to clean up as an offensive line at this point. I feel like we’re doing things correctly, but there’s room for improvement and we definitely need to do that.”

And when Rutgers resumes workouts and practices this May, Denman welcomes a former Fairless Hills (Pa) Pennsbury SHS teammate in three-star running back Charles Snorweah.”

“I’m so happy that he chose to come here,” Denman said. “He’s always loved Rutgers -- even before we were recruits. One of our friends that we played with, his dad played here – Bruce Campbell. He played tight end. From a young age, they were always taking us to games. We never went to Penn State games. We never went to Temple. We always went to Rutgers. Everyone loves it.”


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