The Competition -- The three-technique is all about Darius Hamilton, and the only competition comes in how many reps other guys deserve behind him. Julian Pinnix-Odrick’s move inside was the best position change of spring. He took advantage of the extra reps in practice after Hamilton’s injury. He fits as the primary backup to Hamilton, and he brings a realistic threat as a pass rusher up the middle. The other man to watch is red-shirt freshman Eric Wiafe. He came a long way in two years from the young pass rusher out of Egg Harbor Township (N.J.). He is not yet ready for a feature role. He will, however, push Hamilton and Pinnix-Odrick to stay sharp.
Storyline Central -- What can Rutgers expect from Hamilton? Hamilton is one of the most irreplaceable players on the Rutgers defense, and it was a different look in spring after he went out with a lower-body injury. Hamilton told Scout he expects to be ready for training camp, and Rutgers needs its returning captain. Hamilton is 25 pounds heavier as a senior. He is an all-conference caliber player and exactly who you want in the trenches on Saturday.
Prospect Development -- It may be time for freshman Jon Bateky to get some reps inside. He is up to 265 pounds. Take one look at his frame, and that number only increases as he works through a college weight and food program. Bateky is one of the most underrated additions to the roster this year. He has a bright future. Wiafe sits a year ahead of Batkey on a similar path. Initially a defensive end, the 280-pounder should see a decent amount of work in the rotation. He’ll also be a valuable practice body.
Preseason Grade -- B+ – The three-technique is in the best shape for success of any Rutgers defensive line position. Rutgers has an elite senior in Hamilton, an exciting and improved option in Pinnix-Odrick and some young bodies with room to grow.