By Tom Luicci
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Aug. 2, 2014) – Once Kaleb Johnson made the decision in January to bypass the NFL Draft and return for his senior year at Rutgers, there was no second-guessing, no looking back – and definitely no disappointment.
It did require getting back into a college mindset, the Scarlet Knights’ left guard said, but as a senior that wasn’t difficult at all.
“A little bit (of an adjustment),” the 6-4, 300-pound Johnson said of returning to Rutgers. “(It was) just more focusing on the mental part of everything. Not really football-wise because everything was set. Just becoming more mature, becoming more of a leader for this team.
“But I wouldn’t say there was any disappointment at all. There’s obviously a reason why I came back, so I can’t say I’m disappointed.”
Aside from another year of seasoning at the college level, Johnson – assuming he stays healthy – will leave the football program with a mark that will difficult to surpass. With 37 career starts already, he is well on his way to setting the record for most career starts by an offensive lineman at Rutgers.
Johnson has been a starter since the third game of his freshman year.
“I would just thank coach (Kyle) Flood for trusting me that much and keeping me in there,” Johnson said.
Asked what he thought the career starting record would say about him, Johnson sidestepped the question.
“I’ll let you guys (in the media) talk about that. I’m just out there trying to play football,” he said.
***Flood came away from the second day of preseason camp today getting exactly what he was looking for, the second straight day he has felt that way.
“I thought it was a good practice,” Flood said. “With another install going in, to be able to practice a little bit faster today than yesterday was a good sign for this football team.
“I’m pleased with where we’re at right now. When I get to this point after the second practice I’m always anxious to put the pads on and see what it looks like. Having coached the line for that many years certain things get done without pads on that don’t get done with pads on. Tomorrow we’ll start to see that and ultimately when we get to full pads, we’ll have a half-scrimmage in practice five, I think we’ll have a little bit more information.”
Rutgers will add upper pads tomorrow and Monday and then go to full pads on Tuesday.
***Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann and head basketball coach Eddie Jordan were among the practice visitors today.
***Single game tickets for Rutgers home football games go on sale to the general public on Monday at 9 a.m., with supplies limited for the Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin games at High Point Solutions Stadium. Tickets can be purchased on Scarletknights.com or by calling 1-866-445-GORU.