“He has a chance, if he continues to develop, to be the most athletic player that I’ve ever coached in my 30 years,” Latin head coach Larry McNulty said. “He has every tool that you can imagine. He has amazingly quick feet, he has great vision, he has great balance, he has got great hands, [and] he’s tough. He is now working towards and heading into the direction of elite speed – he’s not there yet, but he’s very fast.”
Since his freshman year, Rouse not only has started at cornerback for Latin, but he was tasked with locking down the opponent’s top receiver. He became more involved on offense last season, his sophomore season.
“Being the fact that he’s so young, I didn’t want to overburden him,” McNulty said. “But last year, he started to move into more of slot/running back type role where we used him a lot to carry the ball. He’s one of our better perimeter blockers, also. Going forward, when he gets older and more mature, he’s probably going to become what we do more offensively. When you’re young, it’s awfully hard to play both ways.”
Rouse ended the 2014 season with 1,600 all-purpose yards and 15 total touchdowns. Those statistics didn’t only come on offense, but in the return game also – when teams didn’t purposely avoid him.
“In the kicking game, people have gotten to the point where they don’t kick to him anymore,” McNulty said.
Defensively, Rouse picked off five passes and made over 40 tackles.
“The biggest stat that I was happy about was I didn’t allow a touchdown at all – nobody scored on me,” Rouse said. “That was a big step up from my freshman year, because I think I allowed three touchdowns.”
Last summer, Duke extended Rouse his first scholarship offer.
“From what I understand, I think [North] Carolina and possibly Clemson are real close [to offering] and that might happen this spring,” McNulty said.
In addition to the three aforementioned schools, Rouse is hearing from Georgia, Penn State, Michigan, Penn State, and Oregon.
Rouse has made several visits to UNC, including for junior days, camps, football games, and last year’s spring game. His most recent visit occurred in mid-January.
“I’m in constant contact with Coach [Gunter] Brewer a lot and he was just like ‘We really need to get you up here and talk to you in-person and go over what you could possibly play at North Carolina,’” Rouse said. “I’m pretty sure they want me to play slot up there, which I don’t mind, because I like the way they use their slots.”
With that said, Brewer invited Rouse to the UNC-Virginia Tech basketball game, which he gladly accepted. Rouse was one of two football recruits to visit that day. Accompanying him was Latin offensive coordinator, Nate Poole, who Brewer coached while at Marshall.
“It was a great visit,” Rouse said. “I love Coach Brewer, because he just embraces me like I’m one of his own – he talks to me like he’s known me his whole life.”
Before watching the basketball game, Rouse sat down with Larry Fedora.
“He was just asking me how I was doing, how my family was, how I was training,” Rouse said. “And he saw my highlight tape and he really liked it. He said I’m a very dynamic and explosive player. He told me he could really see me in North Carolina’s future.”
In addition to UNC, Rouse has visited Clemson, Duke, and NC State. He’s considering trips to Georgia, Penn State, Oregon, South Carolina, and Tennessee this spring and summer.
Four schools have caught Rouse’s attention.
“The dream school would be Oregon,” Rouse said. “I’ve liked them since I was way little. I started following them when Chip Kelly was there, but then I started looking at how they use their corners. They really trust their corners to go man-to-man and lock up.
“I really like Duke, because they have the educational factor. And our quarterback just committed there [as a grey shirt].
“Clemson is another dream school.
“I love Carolina, too. Carolina shows a lot of love.”
Rouse is the second cousin of NFL Hall-of-Famer Art Monk… Rouse is a member of Latin’s track-and-field team participating in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, triple jump, long jump, and 4x100 relay. His personal best time in the 100 is 11.2 seconds.
Melvin Rouse Profile
2017 Target: Melvin Rouse
Inside Carolina Top Stories
ICTV: Commit Play of the WeekNorth Carolina pledge Michael Carter put on a show on Friday night and broke records along the way. Of his seven touchdowns, his 30-yarder was the most impressive.
Inside Carolina7:24 AM
Offense Adjusting to Personnel ChangesNo. 22 North Carolina managed well enough on offense in Saturday's 35-14 win over Virginia despite key players being sidelined by injury.
Inside CarolinaYesterday at 12:31 PM
UNC-Virginia: Game ScoopGo inside the game with this feature for Inside Carolina premium members that includes expert analysis, exclusive tidbits and postgame extras ...
Inside CarolinaSaturday at 5:38 PM
ICTV: Larry Fedora PostgameLarry Fedora addressed the media following UNC's 35-14 win over Virginia.
Inside CarolinaSaturday at 4:45 PM