The Hokies have been known for their hard-hitting defensive players since Frank Beamer took over as head coach in 1987. The team's coaching staff and almost every opposing offensive coordinator agree -- pound for pound, Rouse was one of the most punishing tacklers to ever wear a Tech uniform.
With his size, quickness and strength, several NFL teams are also looking at Rouse as a potential linebacker candidate. With the success another former safety, Cato June, has had since moving to linebacker with Indianapolis, Rouse could be an ideal fit for a team utilizing a Cover-2 scheme that relies on quickness, range and physicality from its linebacking unit.
Rouse was a PrepStar All-American selection that was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the Beach District as a senior at First Colonial High School. He saw action as a wide receiver, safety, linebacker, running back and cornerback during his career for coaches Sam Scarborough and Frank Webster. For his career, he registered 176 tackles with nine interceptions and blocked a school-record eight kicks.
During his final year, Rouse added first-team all-district, all-Tidewater and all-region honors. He was named first-team Group AAA by the Associated Press and second-team by the state coaches as a defensive back. He ranked the 32nd-best safety in the nation by Rivals.com and the ninth-best defensive back in the Atlantic Region by PrepStar.
An All-Mid-Atlantic Region choice by Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report, Rouse made 85 tackles in 2001, including a pair of sacks. He also intercepted five passes, recovered three fumbles and blocked three kicks. He caught 13 passes for 390 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver.
As a junior, Rouse collected 71 tackles, eight sacks and three interceptions, including a game-saving pick against Ocean Lakes High. He was named first-team all-district and second-team all-Tidewater Area that year. He also lettered in basketball.
Rouse enrolled at Virginia Tech in 2002, spending the season performing on the scout team. He was a freshman All-American choice by Rivals.com in 2003, as he appeared in 13 games, starting at "field" outside linebacker against James Madison. He posted 46 tackles (19 solos) with three stops for losses and a forced fumble. He also deflected a pair of passes.
In 2004, Rouse backed up James Anderson at the "field" outside linebacker position. In 13 games, he made 37 tackles (16 solos). He caused one fumble and had 2½ stops behind the line of scrimmage. Rouse earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors from The NFL Draft Report in 2005, as he started all year at the "Rover" position. He ranked third on the team with 77 tackles while batting away five passes and picking off four others. He also caused and recovered a fumble while totaling 4½ stops for losses.
Rouse struggled a bit in 2006, starting 10 of 13 contests at Rover. Cary Wade replaced Rouse in the lineup for the Southern Mississippi, Clemson and Miami games before he returned to the lineup. He finished third on the team with 57 tackles (23 solos), adding two stops for losses and a forced fumble. He batted away two passes and picked off another.
In 52 games at Virginia Tech, Rouse started 24 contests. He recorded 217 tackles (93 solos) with 12 stops for losses of 34 yards. He caused four fumbles and recovered another. He also deflected nine passes and had five interceptions for 80 yards in returns.
Positives: Powerfully built with good upper body muscle definition, tight abdomen, big bubble, thick thighs and calves, long limbs and exceptional timed speed … More of an athlete than a football player, but shows good physicality in his play … Displays loose hips that allow him to smoothly transition out of his backpedal with no wasted motion … Has excellent leaping ability, getting a quick rise while making good body adjustments to get to the ball at its high point … Very aggressive tackler, but needs to play with better control, as he will get reckless and out-run the plays at times … Takes plays from the chalkboard to the playing field with no problems … Vocal leader of the secondary who does a nice job of making adjustments and calls … Responds well to hard coaching and plays with a line-backer's mentality … Shows good ball anticipation skills and has that explosive burst to get to the play in an instant … Has the vision to frame the receiver and quarterback and showed improvement in not biting on pump fakes … Can locate the ball in a crowd and has a good feel for taking proper angles to the ball in plays in front of him (just adequate with his back to the ball) … Has the fluid hips and quick feet to match up with any receiver, and looks natural in his turn-and-run motion, doing a good job of cutting off the inside routes … Will generally mirror the receiver throughout the route and shows the nimble feet to turn fluidly out of his pedal … Has a good feel for the receiver in his zone and gets a quick jump on the ball … Shows the burst to close and fill the gaps in run force (made 40 of his 59 plays against the run in 2006) … Keeps his feet when planting and driving, showing the second gear and burst to shadow and trail the receiver working underneath … Knows how to use his long arms to reach around or over the receiver to deflect the pass … Will not give up on plays and has the lateral range to fly to the perimeters … Shows very good vision eying the backfield and is alert to blocking schemes when stepping up inside the box … Glides up and down hill with good urgency and has the body control to shoot out of his breaks with no wasted motion … Physical between-the-tackles player who gets off blocks well when he keeps his hands inside his framework … Will torque and twist his frame to compete for jump balls (has track experience to rise quickly) … Catches outside his frame, but has not had many opportunities to make the interception (used more in run force as a senior than in the deep zone) … Hits with authority, showing the classic wrap-up technique and pop on contact to get the ball carrier down … Is a good run force safety due to his explosive closing burst and toughness making open-field plays … Hits with authority, putting full force behind his tackles and showed in 2006 that he has improved that technique, doing a much better job of attacking the ball carrier's outside leg to impede forward progress than he did earlier in his career … Not used much on the blitz, but has the quickness to surprise a lethargic offensive lineman coming off the edge … Can form up and maintain balance when striking.
Negatives: A bit high-cut and while he has good range and nimble feet to get through traffic, he gets too tall in his stance and fails to sink his pads, leaving himself exposed to cut blocks … Despite his alertness on the field, he will get over-aggressive in his play, deliver some illegal hits and get flagged for it … Struggles to track the ball over his outside shoulder and is a bit of a liability in zone coverage, as he is hesitant at times to switch off his assignment and jump on the secondary receiver … Needs to keep his emotions in check, as he will get too reckless, out-run the play and then struggle to get back into the action … Needs to get comfortable in his ability to read keys, as he tends to question what he is seeing at times and the result is sometimes being late to get back into the action.
Compares To: Cato June, Indianapolis … For all of his speed and range, Rouse struggles in deep pass coverage and prefers to make plays in front of him rather than operating with his back to the ball … He is one of the team's strongest players and certainly one of the quickest defensive backs in college, but if a Cover-2 defense drafts him, expect that team to shift him to outside linebacker … He has experience at that position during his first two years at Tech and would be less of a liability in pass coverage if he was playing inside the box rather than in the deep zone.
2004: Missed spring drills with a left knee sprain.
Campus: 4.31 in the 40-yard dash … 370-pound bench press … 605-pound back squat … 360-pound push jerk … 360-pound power clean … 35-inch vertical jump … 33 3/8-inch arm length … 9-inch hands … Right-handed.
Combine: 4.55 in the 40-yard dash … 1.59 10-yard dash … 2.64 20-yard dash … 35-inch vertical jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 16 times.
Attended First Colonial (Virginia Beach, Va.) High School, playing football for coaches Sam Scarborough and Frank Webster … PrepStar All-American selection who was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the Beach District as a senior … Saw action as a wide receiver, safety, linebacker, running back and cornerback during his career … For his career, he registered 176 tackles with nine interceptions and blocked a school-record eight kicks … During his final year, Rouse added first-team all-district, all-Tidewater and all-region honors … Named first-team Group AAA by the Associated Press and second-team by the state coaches as a defensive back … Ranked the 32nd-best safety in the nation by Rivals.com and the ninth-best defensive back in the Atlantic Region by PrepStar … An All-Mid-Atlantic Region choice by Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report, Rouse made 85 tackles in 2001, including a pair of sacks … Also intercepted five passes, recovered three fumbles and blocked three kicks … Caught 13 passes for 390 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver … As a junior, Rouse collected 71 tackles, eight sacks and three interceptions, including a game-saving pick against Ocean Lakes High … Named first-team all-district and second-team all-Tidewater Area … Also lettered in basketball.
Sociology major … Son of Nadine Rouse … Born Aaron Roosevelt Rouse on Jan. 8, 1984 in Norfolk, Va. … Resides in Virginia Beach, Va.