Michael Cintron never punted in his home town at the high school level – a commuter to nearby Metuchen (N.J.) St. Joseph's.
Three years into a Rutgers tenure, that finally changes in game two of the 2016 season when Rutgers hosts Howard after Cintron won the vacant Rutgers punting job.
“It's great,” Cintron said. “I get to represent Piscataway. That's hometown Rutgers right there. I grew up Rutgers, going to games. I'm just excited to wear the 'R' and go out and perform for the school. … I'm a hometown boy.”
Cintron worked the entire spring and summer as a first-team punter after Joey Roth graduated and Tim Gleeson recovered from back surgery. He won the job at the end of camp, and debuts in seven days at Washington.
“I'm just very amped up to get out there, play my first starting game,” Cintron said. “It's going to be great. … I think I'm going to do well. I'm going to do the best I can and help the team as best I can.”
Cintron walked on at Rutgers immediately out of St. Joe's.
Behind multiple punters and kickers, Cintron slowly worked his way up with a powerful leg in practices. He debuted for Rutgers at Wisconsin last season, including a 57-yard punt.
Whatever Cintron's role, he wanted to be at Rutgers.
“I'm the type of person, if I say I'm going to do something, I'm going to stick with it,” Cintron said. “I'm going to work as hard as I can to accomplish it. As you can see, the hard work paid off and now I have a chance to play.”