Friday, May 3, 2013
Rutgers players comfortable at minicamp
By Mike Rodak
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As if anyone needed any more proof that Foxborough has become Piscataway North, safety Duron Harmon provided it on Friday.
"It just literally feels like Rutgers," Harmon said. "I see where Coach Schiano got some of his sayings, the structure of his program from."
Harmon is one of four Rutgers defenders who have joined the New England Patriots this spring as rookies. The latest to join, undrafted cornerback Brandon Jones, said it feels like nothing has changed on the field.
"We were in the huddle today, and I turned around, and it was all three of them next to me," he said. "It's a great feeling."
Jones, who becomes the sixth Rutgers product in the Patriots' defensive meeting room, said having his friends and former teammates here is part of why he turned down offers elsewhere to play in New England.
"I trained with them every day back at home since we got to school," he said. "Following them was a no-brainer for me."
There are more than two dozen other rookies arriving in New England this week, and only two -- former Penn State cornerback Stephon Morris and center Matt Stankiewitch -- were college teammates. As such, Harmon sees reaching out beyond his Rutgers teammates as important.
"We just have to sometimes branch out to let people know that we're not shutting them out at all, that we're just very close with each other," Harmon said. "I hope I can get close to Josh Boyce and [Aaron] Dobson the same way I am with Brandon Jones and Logan Ryan."
Adjusting to life as a professional is part of what coach Bill Belichick is stressing to his players during this weekend's rookie minicamp. Harmon feels like his background at Rutgers gives him a head start.
"I feel home and I feel very comfortable with the structure of his program because it's very similar to what I came from," he said.