Aldrick Rosas, former kicker at Southern Oregon University, has declared for the 2016 NFL Draft. Rosas was the starting kicker on the Raiders for the 2013 season and the 2014 National Championship season, where he converted a school record 97.7% of his point-after-touchdowns (PATs). During his time at SOU, Aldrick became known for having one of the strongest legs in the nation. That wasn’t just a sentiment shared by his teammates, coaches couldn’t help but notice Aldrick’s unique leg strength as well.
“His freshman year, he came into Southern Oregon University,” says head coach Craig Howard, “and we first made notice of him in fall camp, because we were working on kickoff team – and he kept kicking it out of the end-zone. And I thought, ‘man what a strong leg’.”
It was clear that Aldrick’s kicking ability was up there at an elite level. Howard continued his high praise, with a comparison to another elite kicker he coached.
“I’ve coached Jeff Chandler, who kicked for the San Francisco 49ers… Chandler was the all-time leading scorer in Florida Gators history… Aldrick Rosas is a lot better kicker than the guy that I knew, I coached, that become the all-time leading scorer in Florida, went to the 49ers, then the Washington Redskins. This guy’s got a bright future, you know.”
That isn’t a comment that should be taken lightly. Coach Howard has been in the coaching business for 42 years, and along with Chandler, has coached NFL talent including Tim Tebow (Columbia High School, FL).
While Aldrick’s decision to enter the draft may not come as a surprise to his coaches due to his kicking strength, the decision itself is a courageous one. The thing is, Aldrick still has 2 years of eligibility remaining at SOU. He could come back and play for the Raiders while finishing up his degree. Not only that, Rosas tore his ACL in his kicking leg on the final kickoff during the 2014 National Championship game.
SOU special teams coach Nathan Chin acknowledged the challenge Rosas is facing. “The ACL is a tough one to come back from, it’s a serious surgery. So for him to come back – and the last I heard from him he said he was kicking better than he’s ever kicked before. So he’s put in the work.”
Only three kickers decided to leave school early in this year’s draft as underclassmen. That marks the first time in sixteen years that a kicker, in this case kickers, have decided to leave school early.
In the 89-year history of Southern Oregon football, there have been a mere three players who went on to the play in the NFL.
To say the odds are stacked against Rosas is an understatement.
As of right now, Aldrick is back living in his hometown of Orland, California, where he’s working on his kicking before the draft. YouTube videos show Rosas down in Arizona working with Coach Gary Zauner at his pro development camp. Zauner is known for his work as a highly regarded special teams coach.
Rosas has a little over two months to prove NFL teams that his kicking ability is worth a roster spot. The NFL Draft is April 28-30 in Chicago.
“It’d be a heck of a story,” Howard says, “of an outside linebacker from a small town, farming community in California – comes to Southern Oregon, we win the National Championship with him as a kicker, and now he’s kicking in the Super Bowl or something. Wouldn’t that be cool.”
*Special thanks to SOU coaches Greg Stewart and Bryan Sander for assistance on this story. Attempts to get ahold of Rosas were unsuccessful.
Follow sports writer Logan Stanley @therealYelnats or email firstname.lastname@example.org.