West Virginia Trip

Linebacker Kevin Rouse has numerous offers to play college football, but last week he made an unofficial visit to one of his few schools of interest that have not yet extended a scholarship. Did the visit result in an offer for the talented Illinois star?

Kevin Rouse, who was in Pittsburgh with his parents, decided to make the short trip down I-79 to check out the West Virginia program.

"My recruiting coach, Butch Jones, showed us around," said Rouse, who got a one-on-one tour during his visit. "We saw all the facilities, and them met with the strength coach. He made a great impression on me – his name is Mike Barwis. He told me everything they would do to make me a better player. I really liked that."

Although Rouse has been offered by approximately 20 schools, West Virginia has yet to do so. WVU is looking at him as an outside linebacker, which is not his high school position. Rouse plays one of the two inside spots in Joliet Catholic's 3-4 defense, and while he is a standout at that spot, a few minor questions remain about his range at an outside position. Thus, WVU will likely hold off on an offer until they see some tape of Rouse's senior year.

"It does bother me a bit that West Virginia hasn't offered me yet," Rouse admitted. "I think I can play outside without any problem. But I won't hold that against them – it doesn't knock them out of the running or anything like that."

The only other school looking at Rouse as an outside linebacker is Pittsburgh, which he visited before West Virginia. The Panthers are among the schools that have offered.

For now, West Virginia might appear to be out of the running. Rouse said he has completed his unofficial visits, and now plans to narrow his list down to "four or five" schools", and that only schools that have offered have a chance to be on that list. However, the list might not be a final one.

"If there are other schools, like West Virginia, that offer me later, I might add them to the list," Rouse said. "Any big schools like that, I would still consider."

Rouse had initially planned to make his decision before his senior season, but the sheer number of schools showing interest in him caused that plan to be modified. He now wants to make all of his official visits before making his decision – which gives West Virginia the time it needs to make its own decision on the aggressive linebacker.


One of the things West Virginia will be evaluating Rouse on is his ability to play in space. WVU's outside linebackers must cover a lot of ground, and while Rouse certainly has the speed to do so, there's a difference between running in a straight line and maneuvering through traffic. Rouse's ability to fill gaps and attack ballcarriers is unquestioned, and if he shows the talent to cover the field more offers will likely be forthcoming.

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Rouse is a four-star prospect and rated as the #25 linebacker prospect in the nation by Scout.com

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