Birmingham, Ala.--On Sunday night Leeds' standout defensive back Jonathan Rose
continued in a long line of successful men in his family to play football at Auburn
University. While he's got one high school season remaining with the Green Wave in 2010, when he steps on the field for the Tigers next fall he'll join his father Charles and relative Courtney Rose as Tigers and it's something that makes his dad proud.
"It's exciting," Charles Rose said. "To have another Rose go down and play for Auburn and actually play DB, me and Courtney both played defensive back. I'm looking forward to these Friday night games first because you kind of get thrown out of whack that he's still got a whole high school season to go through. We'll be looking forward to him putting the orange and blue on and go back down and support Auburn and Gene Chizik."
While Auburn is most definitely in Rose's blood, it was never a sure thing that he would choose the Tigers. Going into the recruiting process with an open mind was something his father instilled in him and Charles said that was the most important thing to him was that his son choose his own future.
"Since he chose Auburn I'm sure a lot of people will say he's going down there because his daddy made him," Rose said. "That was never the case. Not to this day have I told Jonathan where he needs to go. He's asked me for advice. He's asked me what I think about Alabama. I told him it's hard to get any better than the national champions to come offer you a scholarship.
"But just because they're the national champs doesn't mean that's where you're supposed to go to school," he added. "Nick Saban was high on his list when he first offered. He asked about Florida State and Tennessee. I think what it came down to is that he was most comfortable at Auburn. It wasn't because I was there. If I had played at USC I think the (Auburn) coaches made him feel more comfortable than anywhere else."
That comfort level not only spoke to Jonathan but also his entire family. It's something that his father said you can't put enough emphasis on. Seeing what Auburn had to offer him as a person and not just family ties was something Charles said his son did a good job of doing throughout the process.
"You want to look for good coaches and just about any D1 school you choose is going to have good coaches," Rose said. "You want the good coaches to also be good men. (Tommy) Thigpen was his recruiter for this area but when you go down there you see everybody. You talk to Gus Malzahn and Trooper (Taylor), Ted Roof, they're all recruiting him once you get down there. I know about the atmosphere because I've played down there but until you get down there you kind of have to experience it for yourself.
"It's a little different for the fans than it is for the recruits because you get a little more of the inside picture. Sometimes you have to wipe that dirty glass off to see the real picture. Everybody is going to tell you that you're a superstar and this and that. You've got to be able to see what's on the other side. I think he did a good job of that. It basically came down to Alabama and Auburn. Auburn pulled it out."
Tiger Ticket Extra:
Leeds High coach Keith Etheridge has been around some good football players in his time with the Green Wave. This season his team is the preseason pick to win it all in Class 3A and one of the key components is Auburn commitment Jonathan Rose. He said Auburn is very fortunate to be getting a player and person the caliber of the defensive back.
"He's just a quality young man," Etheridge said. "He's a great football player but he's a better young man than he is a football player. It's a pleasure to have coached him and thank goodness we've got another year with him. He'll be a four-year starter this year. He's just quality all around. He can make big plays and of course off the field he speaks volumes of what we're trying to do with our program. We've got a guy to say ‘this is what we want you young guys to strive for'. Not just the ability but the type of person we want them to be."
At 6-2, 180, Rose is a long defensive back and with the speed to run with just about any wide receiver. Etheridge said that ability makes him a great player in the secondary and someone that should only get better down the road.
"He has unbelievable upside," Etheridge said. "He has unbelievable range. Great speed, great hips, feet, good ball skills. He's just one of those kids that has all of God's gifts. He can guard the hitch (route) and people try to throw over him and he's turning around making the pick on the over route. He's just a phenomenal athlete and a great kid."
Comments from father Charles Rose and Leeds coach Keith Etheridge on Auburn's newest commitment Jonathan Rose.