Hurting to be healthy

After a year of "going from one wrong turn to another," three-star Ohio linebacker Zac Rosenbauer is ready to (finally) put his injury woes behind him. If he can return to form, Northwestern, which was recruiting Rosenbauer as a sophomore, may take another hard look at this hard-luck prospect. Inside, Rosenbauer talks to Purple Reign about NU, injuries and goals.

At this point, Zac Rosenbauer has gotten pretty good at explaining his misfortune. He talks at times like he's reading from a thesaurus that's flipped to the word "calamity."

He uses terms like setback, bad luck, waiting game, wrong turn. If it can be used to describe a spat with Lady Luck, it's in Rosenbauer's vocabulary.

But the 6-foot-2, 245-pound linebacker isn't sulking. Instead, he's doing the best he can to put the bad luck in the past, ample though it may be.

"It just seems I'm going from one wrong turn to another," said Rosenbauer, a rising senior from Lima, Ohio. "But it'll all work out. I'm just going to focus on my senior season, play some good football and take it from there."

A recap those wrong turns…

First there was a broken collarbone that nixed his junior season. The circumstances of the injury add just a smidge of frustration: It was, according to Rosenbauer, on the last play of the last scrimmage before the season was set to begin.

And it's not like he was doing anything wrong – no, he was actually sacking the quarterback when the bone "broke right in two."

That injury stunted a recruiting process that had begun to grow during his sophomore campaign. Northwestern, for one, had taken an interest in Rosenbauer, so much so that, according to him, he had exchanged emails with assistant Matt MacPherson, visited Evanston and even had a half-hour sit-down with Pat Fitzgerald.

All of that, however, was pre-collarbone-snap. After the injury, which sidelined him for his entire junior year, Rosenbauer says most schools – including NU – waned in their interest.

"When I broke my collar bone going into junior season, a lot of teams kind of backed off a little bit."

Rosenauer's recruitment was delayed again this summer. The three-star recruit had an ambitious summer slate of camps lined up: Starting with West Virginia, he would hit camps at Cincinnati, Northwestern, maybe even Michigan State.

But Rosenbauer never got past West Virginia.

While at that camp, he dislocated his kneecap. The summer that was going to help him put his injuries woes in the past had, naturally, been derailed by an injury.

No more camps. Just a bunch of rehab.

Rosenbauer has recently started doing sprints, and he anticipates that he'll be ready to play a few weeks into the season, if not sooner.

Despite the injuries, Akron and Bowling Green have still offered scholarships. And Rosenbauer plans on taking five official visits this winter, likely after the football season ends.

Now it's a matter of playing the way he did as a sophomore, when he was garnering attention from the Wildcats. If he does, then NU may start talking scholarship. And if that happens, Rosenbauer would be eager to listen.

"Depending who offers – there's 20 or more schools that have been contacting me – they (NU) are one of the schools that would get an official visit," Rosenbauer said.

And that Fitz is a former All-American linebacker isn't something lost on Rosenbauer, a linebacker himself.

"It would be kind of cool playing for him. I like experience in a head coach, but I also think it's cool being young – it helps relate. And him being a linebacker is cool too."

All of that, though, is speculative. Rosenbauer will first need to steer clear of bad luck before he makes his way to Evanston.

But someone who has been through what Rosenbauer has knows not to get ahead of himself.

"Basically, I need to get offered before I can worry about (official visits)," he said. "I think the biggest thing is I need to get healthy. I think if I just go play and play hard I'll be fine."

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