As expected, the University of Cincinnati Football program signed a second junior college offensive lineman. Ken Rodriguez was expected to sign his letter of intent on Wednesday, but when Bearcat Insider contacted the Bearcats staff about both Mario Duenas and Rodriguez, the staff could only comment on Duenas. Was there a problem with Rodriguez? No! Just a bad looking fax stood in the way of the staff talking about a player their very excited about.
Bearcat Insider spoke with the point man who recruited Ken Rodriguez, along with Bearcats Recruiting Coordinator Mark Staten to get their views on the newest member of the Bearcats.
Coach Mark Staten is in charge of the Bearcats recruiting efforts as his title indicates, but when talking with him you soon learn the Bearcats use a team approach when they recruit football talent from both the high school and junior college ranks. Wednesday saw the first exciting day of recruiting for the Class of 2006 as Junior College players were allowed to sign official letters of intent with college programs and prepare to enroll in the next few weeks to being the next step in the college careers. We spoke with Coach Staten about the delayed announcement on Ken Rodriguez and what his feelings are about the newest offensive lineman.
BI: Was there a problem with Ken Rodriguez on signing day?
MS: No, he had a signing ceremony at 7:00 p.m. (West Coast) on Wednesday night and by the time we received his signed letter it was 10:00 p.m. here. Plus the fax wasn't a great copy so we waited until they could resend it. You can never take any chances in this business.
BI: Two offensive linemen on the same day, you've got to be excited?
MS: Yes, very excited. Anytime you can add two players with their talent you have to be excited.
BI: What can you tell us about Ken Rodriguez?
MS: Well I'll let you talk with Coach Roushar about Ken as a player. He's the one who was at the point of Ken's recruiting. We do thing a little different around here when looking at players. Dan recruits the Southern California area and I hit the Northern California area. But the staff as a whole is real excited about both of the players we signed on Wednesday.
BI: You say you recruit a little different at UC, can you explain that a little more?
MS: Every program has their own way of doing things. Here at UC, Coach Dantoino and the staff work as a group when we recruit. The coach who is recruiting the player will bring him up in our recruiting staff meetings and then we look at the player as a group. If the player gets approval from the whole staff we will offer that player. This way everyone is on the same page and we all agree on the player's talent level and what we feel that player can do for this program.
BI: Thanks Coach!
Dan Roushar coaches the offensive guards and centers for the Bearcats. His arrival to the staff prior to last spring allowed Coach Dantonio to give his offensive line two coaches. As Coach Staten told Bearcat Insider, Coach Roushar was the key coach in the recruiting of Ken Rodriguez.
Coach Dan Roushar was the point man in the recruiting of Ken Rodriguez. Coach Roushar coaches the Bearcats offensive guards and centers and will start his second year on the staff this spring.
BI: Coach Roushar what can you tell Bearcat fans about Ken Rodriguez?
DR: Well Dave, Ken is a real mature and dependable hard working kid. He's a self-made man with no baggage. He played tackle but we expect him to compete inside for us.
BI: What type of player is Ken?
DR: Ken has a background in martial arts; he moves very well and is a great run blocker who is very strong.
BI: What do you feel Ken needs to work on when he gets in the program?
DR: The biggest thing he will need to do is learn our system. We feel he can quickly pick it up and fight for a position this spring. He's around 300 pounds but I think he would be even better at about 295 pounds. I feel he'll get a little faster once he gets in here on the program. But one of the other things he brings is depth along the offensive line.
BI: You state he's a strong run blocker and that you look for him to battle inside, does he also have the ability to pass block?
DR: Yes, he's got great pass blocking abilities but will provide us even greater help inside.
BI: How long have you been recruiting Ken?
DR: Ken didn't play football last year because of some problems in his family. But we heard about him and looked to build a relationship with him. Ken is going to be a great program guy at UC and I'm very excited about having the chance to coach him the next couple of seasons.
BI: Coach, thanks for taking the time and talking about the newest Bearcat.
DR: You're welcome Dave.
As you can see, the Bearcats saw a need along the offensive line and worked hard to bring in players who would compete the day they arrive on campus. The staff seems confident about both of the players signed on Wednesday and feel they have recruited two players who will bring stability and depth at the position. While the majority of the Class of 2006 won't sign until Wednesday February 1st, these two players and the verbal commitments the staff has received are shaping up for one of the top classes in recent memory for the Bearcats.
Bearcat Insider will work to speak with Coach Dantonio in the next few days about both of his new players. I want to thank Coach Staten and Coach Roushar for taking the time and talking with us about the newest Bearcats.