Marshall football: Rouse plans to be back with Herd in 2014
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - James Rouse realized this year that college football can be fun, and rewarding, when you're healthy. So why would the Marshall defensive tackle let the fun end after just one healthy season?
Rouse, who was eligible for a sixth year to play, will take advantage of it. So after he plays in the Dec. 27 Military Bowl versus Maryland, the first-team all-Conference USA selection will return to the Thundering Herd in 2014.
He said he came to the decision a couple of days before the Herd's Conference USA title game at Rice.
"It was the success of this season, all my teammates, all the people who I was with and my coaches," he said. "I felt like it would be great to have another opportunity to come back and have another successful season with the team."
Rouse started 12 of Marshall's 13 games this season. He leads the team with 12 tackles for a loss, a total that's tied for fourth in Conference USA with Louisiana Tech's Daniel Cobb. His four sacks on the season is second on the team to Ra'Shawde Myers 4.5, and he's recorded 35 total tackles with five quarterback hurries and three pass breakups.
The best part, he said, was playing an active part in Marshall's defensive success, rather than just being a spectator.
"I just missed out on that in previous seasons," he said. "It was nice to be able to have that enjoyment. I wanted to continue it for one more year. I was ready to get out there and was glad to be able to this year."
Rouse's teammates voted him both defensive and overall team MVP, which was announced at Sunday's team banquet. Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said that was a testament to the respect he's earned in battling back from a 2011 back injury and a 2012 Achilles tendon injury that robbed him of all but three games in those two seasons.
"He's not only a great leader, but has been a great player," Holliday said. "I can't think of a guy that deserves it more than he does because the adversity he's been through and how he fought through it."
SENIOR DEFENSIVE END Jeremiah Taylor won't be able to gain a sixth year of eligibility, but he will have the chance to play one more game in a Marshall uniform. Taylor has been practicing in a red non-contact jersey after missing 10 games with a back injury, and hopes to start hitting by the end of the week.
"It was tough, going over those few weeks," Taylor said. "I really can't describe what it felt like to hear the words that you get to play in one last game. The feeling of excitement and joy and all that just came with it."
In those three games, Taylor recorded six tackles and one sack. He understands that it will take some time to get back into game shape after such a long layoff, but he's prepared to work as hard as he has to.
"What I've noticed is, no matter how tired you get out there, being able to have that one opportunity, I figured out it's all in the mind," he said. "I'm going to go out there and give it 100 (percent) and just go out there and run out with my teammates."
HOLLIDAY SAID Monday that the five players voted as permanent team captains for 2013 - Rouse, tight end Gator Hoskins, quarterback Rakeem Cato, center Chris Jasperse and corner Monterius Lovett - will represent the Herd at the coin toss for the Military Bowl.
"Three of them (Cato, Jasperse and Rouse) are underclassmen, which is great because they're all back next year," Holliday said.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC will introduce Charlie Partridge, who spent last season as Arkansas' defensive line coach, as its new head football coach at a press conference today in Boca Raton. According to a Daily Mail source, Holliday was on an initial wish list of candidates for the position. There was no mutual interest.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at email@example.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.