Kevin Malast Finally Got His Chance

It took a couple of years, but Rutgers linebacker Kevin Malast has finally had a chance to make an impact as a starter. The junior from Manchester High School in New Jersey played mostly on special teams in his first two seasons at Rutgers.

The chance to get on the field and play on defense has been very exciting for Kevin Malast and he has taken full advantage of it. After four games this season, Malast is second on the team with 34 tackles and can hardly hold back his excitement to be an every down player.

"It's a privilege to play on this defense," Malast said. "It has been real exciting. I am getting used to a lot of things. It is a learning experience and I feel like I am improving. It is just unbelievable."

Former Rutgers running back Brian Leonard was one of the biggest influences in Malast's life. The two share a close bond and Malast has learned a lot from Leonard's example.

"Brian Leonard is a good friend of mine," Malast said. "We talk all the time and he was my host on my official visit and ever since I met him, we have been very close."

In fact, the two men still talk to this day. Leonard had the chance to start last weekend for the St. Louis Rams due to the injury to starting running back Steven Jackson. Malast talked to Leonard following the game on Sunday.

"I saw the first half because I had to be here for a lift at 3," Malast said. "I talked to him today and I busted him for his fumble. He said that it got called back so it doesn't count. It was funny. He is doing well out there. He is having a good time."

Despite Malast's high tackle total, he is much more concerned about team success as opposed to individual numbers or accolades.

"I am not in a tackling race," Malast said. "Everybody keeps telling me about it. I just want to be in the right place at the right time and do my job as a part of the defense. If I have no tackles or however many it doesn't matter to me, I just want to be in the right spot."

Playing for Scarlet Knight Head Coach Greg Schiano is something that got Malast very excited about Rutgers football. Despite the fact that during his recruiting process RU had not made the obvious steps evident to recruits today, Malast believed in the Rutgers Football Head Coach and saw the wheels already beginning to turn when the two first met.

"(I felt) This guy is the real deal," Malast said. "He knows what he is talking about. He doesn't try to bully you. He is straightforward with you. I just respected that. I just really like him as a man. He is someone that can be a good role model for me and help me become a man through this program."

As a student, Malast is studying sports business and his favorite class this semester is "Sports Labor," which is a management class that deals with contracts and agent deals. If Malast keeps up his solid play on the field, he might be looking to hire himself following his time at Rutgers.

Malast is happy he got to Rutgers when he did and has had a chance to see Rutgers take the final steps from being a team that with little national recognition to being on national television on a regular bases.

"I just came in at the right time," Malast said. "You have to owe it to that senior class that was here last year. Everything they have been through, since when Leonard was a freshman by the time his fifth year [came]. They have just been through so much. I have respected that a lot about that senior class."

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