That's likely the case for Ohio defender Zac Rosenbauer, who missed all but a handful of plays of his junior season, and thus doesn't have recent highlights to show the schools that are interested in him. However, that hasn't stopped a number of schools from expressing interest (to go along with a couple of offers) and it doesn't figure to be long into his senor season before those official offers start piling up as well.
Rosenbauer (6-2, 245 lbs., 4.6, Lima HS/Lima, Oh.) was all set to be a wrecker on defense last year after an impressive sophomore campaign, in which he began attracting interest after racking up 117 tackles, including 16 behind the line of scrimmage. However, those plans were derailed in a preseason scrimmage.
"I was sacking the quarterback in the scrimmage and I rotated on my collarbone and broke it," Rosenbauer explained. "It healed and the doctors cleared me to play in our sixth game. When I got in that game, I played just a few plays and hurt it again, and we decided it wasn't worth the risk to try to get back again last year. But I am completely healed up now and ready to go this year."
When he does, Rosenbauer figures to put together the sorts of highlights that punctuated his sophomore film. He is the definition of an impact player who could project at a couple of different positions in a college lineup.
"Most schools are looking at me as a mike linebacker or a stand-up defensive end, and I think I can play either one," he said. "I don't have any problem dropping into pass coverage, and I have the speed to do that and rush the quarterback."
That statement is no exaggeration, as Rosenbauer boasts a personal best of 11.1 seconds in the 100-meter dash. He's so fast that he runs that event for Lima, as well as manning the shot put and discus spots. That's not a combination often seen, but Rosenbauer has the dual gifts of speed and strength to make him an effective competitor at both. It also obviously helps him on the football field, where opposing blockers have a tough time dealing with the varied talents Rosenbauer possesses.
"I think a lot of the coaches who saw my sophomore film liked my size, and I can move really well too," he said. "I figure out reads pretty quickly, and I think my intelligence helps me there – at least that's what my dad says," Rosenbauer said with a laugh.
The intelligence angle is no idle boast. Rosenbauer has a 3.8 GPA to go along with a 29 on the ACT, so qualifying certainly won't be a problem.
"I think I can learn whatever defenses I would be running in college," he added.
Rosenbauer took in a West Virginia practice recently and made the rounds of the football complex. He was able to meet with both Jeff Mullen, his recruiting coach, and defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel. He talked football with them, discussed where he might fit on the Mountaineer defense, and got some good feedback for what WVU's coaches were looking for from him this year.
"I think West Virginia, like a lot of schools, are waiting to see some film from me of my senior year, since I missed last year," Rosenbauer said. "It was very hard to sit out and see the recruiting process going on last year, but now I'm back and ready to go."
The rugged defender, who said he "always enjoyed hitting", has offers from Akron and Bowling Green, but that list figures to expand soon. He is getting the most interest from West Virginia, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Northwestern and Boston College, and has gotten letters from "just about everyone in the Midwest". In addition to West Virginia, he has been to junior days at several of the schools on the aforementioned list, as well as Ohio State, and has a busy summer schedule lined up.
"I will probably make it to about 10 camps this year, and a couple of more combines," he detailed. "I plan to do one-day camps, so I can see as many different schools as I can. West Virginia will definitely be one of the camps I will attend.
"I like how close West Virginia is to home," he continued. "They are definitely a top program. They are always ranked, they get good bowl games and they have good standing in the league. They are definitely a school that I am very interested in."
Rosenbauer could also see some action on offense this year.
"I played in a jumbo package on offense as a sophomore, and I played some fullback too," he said of his foray to the opposite side of the line. "I might play some tight end this year too."
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Rosenbauer plans a methodical approach to the recruiting process.
"I want to get as much info as I can, and take all five of my officials," he noted. "I would like to finish that up and make my decision in this calendar year, but I won't rush it. If I need to delay it, I will."