Opelika, Ala.--One of the top linebacker prospects in Alabama for the 2009 class is already receiving attention from schools around the South after a dominating junior year for the Opelika High School Bulldogs.
Speedy Josh Rowe is the latest in a long line of college prospects to come out of Opelika in Coach Spence McCracken's program. A first-year starter in 2007 after receiving a lot of playing time as a sophomore, the 6-0, 195 Rowe says that right now several colleges are showing interest in him.
Josh Rowe lights into a Blount player during a first round playoff win for the Bulldogs.
As a junior Rowe was all over the field for the Opelika defense from his middle linebacker position. He made 106 tackles to go along with six sacks, five forced fumbles, four pass break-ups, four fumble recoveries, and one blocked field goal. Also a standout on special teams, Rowe added six tackles on kickoff coverage.
A strong player, Rowe bench presses 330 pounds and squats 430 pounds. Not bad for a guy who says his best 40-yard dash time is 4.4 seconds. Rowe says that the combination is what makes him the player he is on the field.
"I think my strength is my speed," Rowe says. "I think that is the best thing I have because I can get off and avoid blocks. I have great lateral speed so I'm able to run the ball down. I can keep running backs in their tracks by doing that. My best attribute is my speed."
Perhaps the toughest thing for a young linebacker to get used to in high school football is pass coverage. Rowe says he's improved in that area, but still has plenty of work to get where he wants to be in that area.
"I want to improve my coverage," Rowe says. "I need to really work on that because there were a couple of games where I bit on play fakes and never dropped back. That's what I really need to work on."
Rowe says he's not sure if he wants to get back into wrestling for his senior year, but will definitely take part in track and field this spring, where he throws the shot put for the Bulldogs. He says his main goal between now and next season is to get bigger.
"I want to get to about 210," Rowe says. "I think that would help me as a player."
Rowe is expected to be in Mobile this weekend for a Scout.com Combine that will feature other oustanding juniors from around the South.