Rutgers RT JJ Denman Reflects on Big Ten Trench Wars in First Starting Season

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- J.J. Denman does not always come out on top, but the trench wars against elite Big Ten defensive ends create consistent improvement for the Rutgers first-year starting right tackle. Denman, who was once verbally committed to Wisconsin, faces another challenge against powerful Badger defense.

Joey BosaAnthony ZettelShilique Calhoun -- all clashed with first-year Rutgers right tackle J.J. Denman and all three taught the Fairless Hills (Pa.) Pennsbury product something new about the position.

Denman lost his fair share of battles (as did his team), but there is a lesson for him in battles with three early future NFL draft picks.

"At this point, [the experience] helped me a lot," Denman said. "I'm very thankful that I played against these guys fulltime. The experience that I gain each and every week, I'll just keep building on stuff. All of my performances haven't been so great, but look at what I did when I had good ones. I'll just keep building off of those."

Denman's most recent opponent was Bosa, a projected top-five draft pick and leading candidate for many post-season accolades. Bosa's Buckeyes held Rutgers to seven points, but he individually logged just three tackles and one sack."

"There were things I could have done personally to minimize those stats even more," Denman said. "I'll learn off of that performance and definitely build off of it to come out better this week."

The opposition this week is Wisconsin, where Denman was once verbally committed. Denman officially visited Rutgers alongside close friend Chris Muller, and then flipped to the Scarlet Knights in the final days of Greg Schiano's tenure.

Denman then reaffirmed his commitment minutes after Kyle Flood took the job.

"It was a long time ago," Denman said on his Wisconsin experiences. "They take football very seriously out there, and we do too. It's very similar to things that we do and the things that we emphasize. It's a good matchup."

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