Sam Hellman / Scarlet Report

Thanksgiving Practice Report: Senior Sendoff

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- A new coach and new program means different senior-week traditions. Before a brief Thanksgiving respite for the team, coach Chris Ash broke down the way the seniors went out of their final practice at Rutgers.

The Headline – Rutgers coach Chris Ash promised new traditions and a proper sendoff for his seniors, and delivered with a heartfelt with the team on Thanksgiving.

While Rutgers fans and families give thanks today, younger players did the same for their departing seniors.

“At the end of practice, we gave them a chance, a younger player that they connected to to get up and tell a story about them and then I let the seniors stand up one at a time and give a message or a lesson that they've learned about their journey here and their time at Rutgers to give them some advice for the younger guys that may help them along their journey,” Ash said. “Then we formed a human tunnel out of the bubble to shake their hands and clap them around a little bit as they make their last walk outside the bubble.”

With a class that includes three-time captain Darius Hamilton, the advice for younger players came from a group of battle-proven players.

“There were a lot of different messages,” Ash said. “There were some that were consistent about enjoy the time. Enjoy the process. Stay focused make good decisions, cherish the relationships that you have and the ones that will continue to form through your journey. Keep faith and keep believing in what we're doing now with a new coaching staff.”

Worth Noting – Freshman cornerback Damon Hayes is thankful for his teammates with a packed weekend of ticket requests. The conclusion of his debut college season takes place 25 minutes from home.

It's always exciting to be back at home,” Hayes said. “I've got a lot of people coming, 20 or 25. They're excited for me. From a personal standpoint, it's always good to be on the field but everybody home is proud of me.”

Quote of the Day – “We have a group of mature, intelligent seniors that have invested a tremendous amount of time and effort here into this program.” – Ash.

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