Rutgers' Johnathan Aiken wins Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors
PISCATAWAY — Johnathan Aiken awoke Monday morning to congratulatory text messages from teammates. He didn't know it yet, but Rutgers' senior safety had earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors.
"Honestly, it hasn't hit me yet," Aiken said. "It's like Christmas morning, when you know it's Christmas but it hasn't really hit you yet until you open your gifts."
Aiken finished Thursday night against Washington State with seven tackles, a forced fumble that led to Rutgers' game-winning score and the defense's final pass breakup.
Head coach Kyle Flood said receivers Carlton Agudosi and Andrew Turzilli, who combined to play two snaps with Rutgers' offense, weren't 100 percent in the season opener.
"They're healthier now," Flood said. "They played. Now because we've had the extended week I think they'll be a lot closer to 100 percent this week, and we'll hope to get more out of those guys.
In his debut, Julian Pinnix-Odrick played both defensive end and three technique against Washington State. He said he turned to Darius Hamilton for advice on playing inside.
"We've been going over it a lot," Pinnix-Odrick said. "There is a lot of stuff I have to tight up there. But like I said, it's not really a giant difference between playing end and playing inside. You have to be physical."
Labor Day marked the beginning of coaches' permissible contact with 2016 recruits. Flood said he was in his office at the Hale Center today until 1:30 a.m.
"It's always a little surprising to me that they're up and they're waiting for (social media messages)," Flood said. "I got quite a few responses. I ended up responding to the responses because I didn't want them to think it was a computer-generated message going out. I ended up probably awake until 2:30 in the morning, and then I just tapped out. I said, 'I'm going to bed, you should, too.'"