Options Abound

A versatile New Jersey defender has three Big East schools atop his list at the moment, but says he is still hoping to attract additional offers.

North Bergen High School's Evan Rodriguez is a bundle of possibilities. At six feet, three inches and 200 pounds, the two-way standout plays quarterback, running back, wide receiver and safety in high school. He projects as a safety or an outside linebacker in college, and could also play a bit of wide receiver in the right situation. With such talent, Rodriguez has had a number of schools come calling for a visit.

"Right now, I have West Virginia, Pitt and Rutgers as my top three," said Rodriguez, who has yet to make an official visit. "All of those schools have offered, and I will probably make official visits to all of them."

West Virginia assistant coach Herb Hand made a trip to New Jersey to see Rodriguez play, and is staying in frequent contact with the big defender.

"Coach Hand came up, and we have had some good talks," Rodriguez said of his interest in the Mountaineers. "West Virginia has a great program. I've been watching them on TV a lot. I want to get down there and visit them."

Rodriguez could be a five-position player in West Virginia's defensive scheme, as he could fit at safety, spur, bandit or either of the outside linebacker spots. Spur or outside backer are the two most likely positions, as his tall frame figures to fill out over the next couple of seasons.

The trio of Big East schools aren't the only ones still in the hunt, however. Rodriguez remains in contact with schools such as Florida and Penn State, and offers from either of those institutions could change the recruiting picture.


Rodriguez has found himself in a leadership role with the young North Bergen squad, and is taking to it very well. The team is 3-1 on the season, in part due to his blossoming leadership skills.

"I knew I would have to be a leader this year, but it sort of just happened," he noted. "I've kind of grown into it. But I knew I would have to help some of the younger guys, and I think I am doing pretty well."

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Rodriguez also believes his play on the field has improved.

"I think I am playing great," he said without any apparent boastfulness. "I think I am playing much better than I was last year."

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Although Rodriguez appears destined for a defensive position in college, he is enjoying his time on offense as well. He runs a shotgun spread offense similar to West Virginia's, and also has gotten snaps at running back and wide receiver.

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