Rutgers defensive tackle Darius Hamilton may not be 100 percent healthy but he is game ready in the eyes of the decision makers.
Coach Chris Ash sat Hamilton for Saturday's open scrimmage. Why? Because he's “not nuts.”
“Darius is ready to play,” Ash said. “I know a lot of people ask why Darius didn't scrimmage yesterday, because I'm not nuts. He's one of our best players. I'm not going to get him hurt before we get to a game.”
Hamilton showed the same progress to new defensive line coach Shane Burnham.
Hamilton is his own doctor when it comes to practice playing time, and he has no plans of missing time against Washington.
“The biggest thing with Darius is you've got to manage his reps much like we did in the spring but even from the spring I could tell he was more comfortable with the way he moves,” Burnham said. “His lower half is stronger. I'm really comfortable with him. He's got great hands. He's one of the best guys I've been around as far as playing with his hands up front. He's extremely quick and violent off the ball. He's a difference maker for us.”
Hamilton received a medical redshirt last season after he played only in a blowout loss to Penn State for interim coach Norries Wilson. He sat out a portion of spring and summer workouts before a return to form in the first week of training camp.
“He's practicing at a very high level. He feels great. He's not 100 percent. He's not going to be 100 percent. But he feels as good as he's felt in a long time, and he's practicing a lot, and he looks pretty good when he's out there. He's physical. He's got great hands.”
If Ash's early practice observations are any indication, Hamilton is on track.
“I look at the offensive linemen that line up against him in practice, and I'm not seeing a lot of guys that have a lot of confidence in beating Darius right now. And that's not to take away anything from the offensive line. I really like the way our offensive line is playing, but I think Darius, his play is at another level, and he's feeling really good. He's practicing extremely well.”
Hamilton recently gave a candid interview about his time at Rutgers on the Rutgers Scoutcast. Check it out below.