A Down Year Is No Reason To Be Down On Aaron Rouse

Imagine a college prospect who is 6'4" 230lbs and runs the 40 yard dash in 4.5 seconds. You might picture a linebacker, and you wouldn't be too far off. Because Aaron Rouse, former Virgina Tech Safety, started his career at VT at linebacker. He made the transition to safety in 2005, where he had an impressive junior season; 77 tackles, 5 PBU, 4 INT.

Rouse was a big part of the spectaular defense VT has displayed over the past few year. A big program playing in a top conference in the ACC, Virginia Tech has finished with at least 10 wins in the last few season and has sent many defensive prospects to the pros (Jimmy Williams and Darryl Tapp were second round picks last year).

Expectations were high for Rouse coming into his senior year. He was one of the top safeties in the conference and was expected to light things up in 2006. However, he didn't have quite the year people thought he would. He was getting called for too many personal fouls on the field, which had an effect on his aggressive approach to the game. He still had linebacker instincts but was playing in the secondary as a hybrid 'Rover'. Coaches asking him to 'dial it back' a bit, coupled with the death of his grandmother, took a toll on Rouse. He was more hesitant, and wasn't playing as instinctive as he could have been. And his numbers were down across the board:

"The GMs understood," Rouse said. "Their thoughts were, 'Well, if you can have a down year and still be third on the team in tackles, imagine what you'd do in a good year.' And, honestly, how many other 6-4, 230-pound guys can move like me?"

"This last week, I've talked to the Eagles, Chargers, Giants, Jets, Colts, Patriots... you name it. Everybody's calling," Rouse said. "One year is not going to define my life. Teams know that I'm still a player, so I don't expect to wait long to be taken. "

So there is definite interest from the Chargers, who could use a guy like Rouse on defense. Whether playing safety or linebacker, AJ Smith covets guys who are physically dominant and have a track record for production on the field. Rouse fits that mold, the mold of the Shawne Merriman and Antonio Cromartie. Being physical on defense is what the Chargers are all about, and they value speed and instincts.

Arguably the most important characteristic teams are looking into nowadays is the character of a person. Aaron Rouse has a unique life story and it may come as a surprise to see someone so smart and humble develop from the background that Rouse has. His father is a convicted murderer and drug abuser. Rouse never really knew his father, so it was up to his mother to raise Aaron and his brothers and sisters in the projects of Virginia Beach. Football was an outlet for Rouse and he found something he loved to do.

This video is an excellent look into who Aaron Rouse is as a person:



Rouse presents an intriguing package for the Chargers second round pick. He could start at Strong Safety from day one, and would have no problems digesting a complex playbook. He has shown tremendous versatility and desire to help his team and has an excellent character to pair with his unique size and speed.

LINK: Virginia Beach native stays positive for NFL draft

April 27, 2007

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