20 in 20: TE Nakia Griffin

The 20 in 20 series is back at Scarlet Report, where we take a look at all of the newcomers for Rutgers training camp and summer workouts. We continue today with incoming tight end Nakia Griffin, who inherits a familiar uniform number.

Tyler Kroft’s No. 86 at Rutgers will not be vacated for long. The number goes to incoming freshman tight end Nakia Griffin, who enrolls in June for summer classes and workouts.

Griffin wants to be the next in line among great Rutgers tight ends, and called it “an honor” to take on Kroft’s former number.

“I’ve never, ever, ever heard any negative word about him from a player or a coach,” Griffin said. “Everything that I’ve ever heard about him was positive from his work ethic to everything he does as a role model. I know the younger tight ends looked up to him. I didn’t speak much with him as a recruit, but I felt like I knew him based on how much I heard about him.”

Kroft quickly congratulated Griffin, and offered some veteran advice as he begins OTA’s with the Cincinnati Bengals.

“He was supportive of me wearing it, and he just offered me some advice and wished me luck,” Griffin said. “He just offered his aid if I ever needed anything and had any questions or problems, he’d be happy to talk with me. Ironically, I scored my first touchdown as a peewee football player wearing that number. I guess everything is a sign right now.”

When coach Kyle Flood finally gets Griffin on campus, it will be at a much more impressive size than anticipated. Griffin is up to 242 pounds as he finishes his senior year.

For some perspective, Kroft reported to his first Rutgers camp closer to 210 pounds after his spring lacrosse season.

“It’s funny because this is the most weight I’ve ever gained, and I wasn’t focused on gaining weight,” Griffin said. “I wanted to get stronger, get bigger, be my best. It just came on easily. I’m a lot more confident and a lot more comfortable with where I’ll be going into training camp.”

Griffin comes in at a position in need of play-makers, and the three-star prospect out of Tenafly (N.J.) is a candidate for freshman playing time.

The final weeks before Griffin’s enrollment focus upon academic work and workouts with future quarterback and friend Michael Dare.

“I’ve been working out all the time with him and his quarterback trainer (former Syracuse quarterback Madei Williams), and it’s definitely not that fun having over 100 balls thrown at you at his full speed,” Griffin said. “He under-ratedly has a rocket for an arm. We put in work every weekend. We’ll be roommates, so that’s cool. We have a connection before we get on campus.”


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