February 1, 2011

Rosales' commitment is icing on the cake

Jalen Rosales wanted something different than, as he put it, "The regular American college student.''

The United States Military Academy certainly fit that category, and he made it official Monday night when he called assistant coach Ian Shields and told him he wanted to be a Black Knight.

On his official visit over the weekend, the Berkeley, Cal., resident encountered something even more different.

Snow.

"I've never experienced that,'' he said with a laugh, talking from his cell phone over the noise of his Berkeley High School cafeteria. "It was actually cool to see. I've never seen it. It was funny - I had a hard time walking around in it. I didn't expect all that black ice and everything.''

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound defensive end/linebacker will have five years to get used to winters in the Northeast. He'll attend the prep school first before joining the big guys to start the 2012 season.

Several elements combined to make him choose Army over Hawaii and San Diego State, among others. Not the least were the sights on his tour.

"Honestly, the facilities, the school, they exceeded all my expectations. The dorms were nice, and the library was beyond anything by comparison that I've ever seen. And the athletic facilities, I really have no words to describe how nice they are.

"Knowing I'd have a job after graduation was really a big factor, and I want to be able to take care of my family.''

Rosales had a long conversation with his parents after school on Monday, discussing what is easily the most important decision of his young life. He placed the phone call to West Point at 6 p.m. Pacific time.

"It feels good,'' he said. "There's no more stress on my shoulders. The past three months have been so stressful. I think I got a few gray hairs on the back of my head.''

A varsity starter for three years, he also played tight end on offense, was a middle linebacker as a sophomore, then played DE/OLB his final two seasons.

"I'd describe myself as relentless. Non-stop. I keep banging and knocking heads, kind of an endless motor that won't stop. I feel more natural playing defense,'' he said. "I feel a lot sharper.''

A three-sport participant, he also plays lacrosse and is currently on the school's basketball team. "We're playing for the league title Friday night,'' he said.

Football, of course, is No. 1 with him. And now, so is West Point.

"I think it will be a good experience for me,'' he said. "I really do want to do something different.''

Rosales already has quality size and speed to go with it. He could project to many positions in defensive front- will depend on his physical development. He has great motor and football instincts.

He is an above average pass rusher out of high school, but one thing that is certain and that is Rosales plays with a nasty disposition and is fiercely competitive.

Rosales is a nice pick-up for the Army staff.


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