But it was a different meeting that set Saturday apart for Tverdov during an unofficial visit to campus.
Tverdov, with his brother, watched a three-hour morning practice but the events immediately after stuck out for the Union (N.J.) 2017 defensive end target.
“I’d have to say the best part of my day came when I talked with Darius Hamilton,” Tverdov said. “I talked to him for like 40 minutes outside, just asking him questions about recruitment and going through that. We talked about changing coaches and his position change and his injuries. I really got to know him, and I can compare myself to some of the players. That stood out.”
Of course some time alongside older brother Pete Tverdov and former teammates like Devin McCourty, Eric LeGrand, Jeremy Zuttah and Brandon Bing did not hurt either.
“It’s always cool, I mean you’re talking about Super Bowl winners, guys I watched since I was a kid,” Mike Tverdov said. “. It was student day there, so there were a lot of kids around. It was more energetic and fund to be around. I talked to girls on the soccer team, old alumni, my brother’s old teammates. Seeing them come back and having the new staff welcome them really opened my eyes to see they’re an open staff.”
Tverdov watched an hour of film before practice with defensive line coach Shane Burnham. He spent three hours in the practice bubble, and the defensive line impressed him during scrimmage periods.
“I saw the same thing,” Tverdov said. “They have the most experience and everybody physically is up to par. Their smallest starter is probably 270 pounds. They’re bigger than they were last year both inside and outside. They still have a ways to go before the first game, but in my opinion, they’re going to be the most dominant group on the field this year.”
Rutgers head coach Chris Ash did not push for a commitment during the visit. He did, however, express a serious interest in Tverdov as a top in-state target on the defensive line.
“They were all fired up from Bo Melton, and they said they were even more fired up because I was coming,” Tverdov said. “They know I love Rutgers, but I’m still not done with this process. I have other places to see and other colleges to go back to. Rutgers is doing a great job. I know they’ll have a great recruiting class this year but it’s a matter of being comfortable. They didn’t pressure me.”
After his brother battled as a defensive tackle in the Big East at 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, the younger Tverdov discussed size and nutrition in detail during the visit. A half inch taller than Pete Tverdov, Mike Tverdov sits at 230 pounds heading into his senior season.
“It’s a concern being able to be big, strong, lean and being able to run because obviously you have to work for that,” he said. “I talked to them myself, their nutrition is unbelievable. Nutritionists, chefs, a ridiculous dining hall, [strength and conditioning coach] Kenny Parker is great. He said they’d get me to 265 or 270 at my playing weight if I went there. That gave me something to think about.”