Busy LB Checks Out Auburn A-Day Game

Josh Rowe, a talented 2009 linebacker prospect from Opelika, discusses his visit to Auburn and recruiting.

Opelika, Ala.--Quick and athletic linebacker Josh Rowe had a busy weekend checking out the A-Day football game at Auburn University and winning a competition in a high school track and field meet meet on the other side of town.

The talented tackler notes he got a chance to spend time with Auburn linebacker coach James Willis and new defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads on Saturday.

"They seemed pretty cool," Rowe says. "I think playing under Mr. Willis would be pretty nice."

An athlete who combines power with speed at 6-0, 195 pounds, Rowe notes he has a best 40-yard dash time at under 4.5 and that isn't surprising to anyone who has seen him play at Opelika High as he makes tackles from sideline to sideline. He made 106 of them as a junior linebacker while forcing five fumbles and he added six more stops on kickoff returns. Rowe also blocked a field goal, recovered four fumbles and broke up four passes last fall.

In his spring sport, he throws the shot put and he did that before heading to Jordan-Hare Stadium to check out Auburn's spring game. "My best throw is 49 feet," he notes. "I actually won my first meet of the season on Saturday. It was the Auburn Invitational and I think that there were 28 teams there."

Rowe will have a busy spring schedule competing on his school's strong track and field team until the season ends in early May and then will hit the football field for spring practice. "I am going to be working on my (pass) coverage--my man to man coverage and my zone coverage," says Rowe, who received his first scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky Wildcats.

"I am going to Alabama's spring game and Kentucky wanted me to come to their spring game, but I can't come and the same is true of Louisville, Middle Tennessee and Ole Miss," he says.

He says receiving his first scholarship offer from Kentucky "is very exciting," but notes that Auburn is still his favorite and he is hoping an offer will come from the Tigers.

Commenting on the Auburn spring game, Rowe says, "I liked the defensive scheme they ran although they couldn't really show much."

This fall will be the final season for Opelika High head football coach Spence McCracken, who has built the Bulldogs into a Class 6A state power. Last week McCracken announced he will retire from football coaching following the 2008 season.

Rowe notes that at first he was a bit surprised the successful coach announced his retirement, but recalled something McCracken had said when Rowe was an eighth grader. "I remember him coming to the middle school and picking our team, name by name, one by one, and he told us, ‘You are going to be my last players.' "

Josh Rowe makes a tackle for the Bulldogs as a junior.

Rowe says he and the other seniors who grew up playing together are hoping to send out McCracken as a champion. "We are playing for a lot causes," he says. "It is Coach McCracken's last year, it is our last year. We have never won a championship (in football) at Opelika. Hopefully, in Coach McCracken's last year, we can win one.

"I have never won a championship and I have never played on an undefeated team," Rowe adds. "That would be a great thing to do for my senior year. That is one of the goals."

The linebacker predicts the Bulldogs will be strong this fall. "A lot of people say we lost a lot of good players on defense and offense like we did last year, but we don't rebuild, we reload," he says.

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