This story originally appeared as a premium article on ScarletReport.com by Garrett Stepien on Feb. 3, 2017, republished with permission from site manager Sam Hellman.
When Sam Vretman decided to leave Cheshire (Conn.) Academy early and enroll at Rutgers, he did so with a purpose.
A three-star prospect and the No. 10 offensive tackle in the East out of high school, the Sweden native had aspirations to make an impact as soon as he could at the next level.
Since Vretman stepped foot on campus with his Jan. 17 early enrollment, those goals remain the same.
“If I can get the chance, I know that with my hard work I will definitely have the chance to — if not get a starting spot — definitely (get) some playing time for sure, and that’s my goal coming in here,” Vretman said. “And if not that, I want to get as good as I can and to get as much playing time as I can in general this year.”
Cheshire Academy prepared the Sweden native well for life away at school, but the difference with the next level at Rutgers is clear, he said.
“They push definitely a lot harder here (at Rutgers),” Vretman said. “It really is a difference between the amount of resources they have, but I think the work that I did before (at Cheshire Academy) has prepared me for the workouts here. And compared to other players so far, I’m doing pretty good for being an incoming freshman. As time goes on, I’ll be physically a very developed player.”
Time spent under Kenny Parker in the Rutgers strength program has the 6-foot-6, 295-pounder’s development already in progress.
“This is, for sure, the hardest I’ve ever been pushed before in a program like this,” Vretman said. “I really start to notice the difference as in the amount of mass that I put on, weight I put on and also the amount of speed and conditioning I’ve developed only over a few weeks. But I think, as time goes on, as we hit spring ball, as we hit the season, I think I’ll be physically there.”
Vretman watched with the early enrollees Wednesday as Rutgers cemented its 2017 recruiting class. Now on the other side, he remembers why he chose the Scarlet Knights and never wavered.
“I really bought in to what the coaches want to do, their goals and everything,” Vretman said. “So for me, it wasn’t really looking at the record and (say) this is a bad program. … I would say this is a program on the come up — the philosophies, the training, the people here, the coaches the philosophies and also with the university really offers. That’s what brought me for it.”