"Me, Carlos Rogers (starting right cornerback, Fr.), Karlos Dansby (starting whip, So.) and Donnay Young (starting free safety, RFr.) and some of the other young guys who are going to be here two to three more years, we are going to try to be the best secondary in the nation."
Rosegreen and company won't have to wait until the New Year to start making that resolution a reality. The six-foot, 180-pounder will likely make his first start in a Tiger uniform when Auburn squares off with North Carolina on New Year's Eve in the Peach Bowl.
"I'm still trying to get better and better as the days go by," Rosegreen says. "When I go out there, I am making sure I get something out of each day. I'm not trying to go out there and have the same day as I had yesterday. You've got to be better than yesterday and tomorrow has to be better than today. Each day I have to get better and better. I feel I haven't reached my peak yet, but when I do reach my peak, I feel I'll be a pretty good player."
Junior Rosegreen talks with Coach Tommy Tuberville at football practice.
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native had been backing up starter Roderick Hood at the left cornerback spot all season, but a strong showing in the second half against LSU helped move Rosegreen into the starting role. He had six tackles and two pass deflections against the Fighting Tigers. He finished the season with 24 tackles and had two pass deflections.
What gets Rosegreen even more excited about the future is having this extra month to work with his teammates. "This is giving us a time to build a chemistry back there in the secondary," he notes. "When you don't have that chemistry, then I don't know what Donnay is going to do, or Donnay is not going to know what Karlos Dansby is going to do and Karlos Dansby doesn't know what Carlos Rogers is going to do."
He adds that the group is going to start spending a lot of time together when the bowl game is over. "In the offseason and in the spring, when we have a little time off, we are going to start doing stuff together and get that bond going," Rosegreen says. "That will help us know what we all do on certain downs."
The Tigers' current situation reminds Rosegreen of the one the University of Miami was in just four short years ago. Three members of the Hurricanes' starting secondary are seniors and one is a junior and their top reserve, cornerback Markese Fitzgerald, is also a senior.
"I have some boys down there at (University of) Miami and they were in Sports Illustrated, the whole secondary. They grew up together, from their freshman to their senior year together. They did it like that and they are a great secondary."
Led by senior strong safety Ed Reed, who was a consensus All-American, the Hurricanes led the nation in forced turnovers with 45 and interceptions with 27 in 2001. Cornerback Phillip Buchanon, the lone junior, also earned All-America honors and his counterpart Mike Rumph would have likely earned All-America honors if teams had challenged him more. Senior free safety James Lewis led the secondary with 59 tackles. Fitzgerald earned the team's Hard Hitter Award. Rumph is expected to be a first round pick in the NFL draft along with Reed and Buchanon.
The Hurricanes' secondary helped lead Miami to the national championship game this season when they face Nebraska in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4 and that is exactly where Rosegreen and his fellow teammates would like to lead the Tigers one day.
Tiger Ticket Extra: Here is a comparison of how Rosegreen, Rogers, Dansby and Young did in their first seasons as collegians vs. how Buchanon, Rumph, Reed and Lewis did at Miami. Rosegreen made 24 tackles, had two pass breakups and saw action in all 11 games while Buchanon made 21 tackles, had one pass breakup and saw action in all games. Rogers was named a second-team Freshman All-American by the Sporting News. He made 58 tackles, led the team with 12 pass breakups and started nine games...Rumph was named a first-team Freshman All-American by the Sporting News. He made 20 tackles, had five pass breakups and started just three games. Dansby led the team in interceptions with five and was third on the team with 59 tackles. He started eight games and even though he was listed as a sophomore, Dansby will be able to get his fifth-year of eligibility back if his academics are up to par...Reed was named a first-team Freshman All-American by the Sporting News. He was third on the Hurricanes with 90 tackles and he picked off two passes. Young played in 10 games, starting three and registered 23 tackles and picked off one pass while Lewis saw action in all 11 games as a reserve strong safety. He made 11 tackles and had one pass breakup.