Rose had a stellar senior seasons with 73 tackles, five interceptions (including two pick sixes), a 61.3-yard punt return average, two rushing touchsdowns and five receiving TDs. Rose, who led Leeds to the Alabama 3A title, has committed to Auburn.Read More Below
Leeds High cornerback Jonathan Rose is used to the spotlight. His physical play attracted hoards of college attention, and his standout senior year earned him an invitation to play in the U.S. Army All-American game. He received scholarship offers from nearly every BCS conference. Fans from Tallahassee to Tuscaloosa hung on his every move.
His commitment was so anticipated, in fact, that he decided to increase the stakes, broadcasting it live on Birmingham's CBS affiliate. Only in high school, he staged a small-scale version of LeBron's Decision.
"You might as well do it as big as you can," he said. "I did it on TV so all my friends and family could watch."
He chose to take his talents where most analysts predicted he would -- Auburn. Rose was raised a Tiger fan, as his father, Charles, played defensive back there from 1992-1996. Leeds is located just 100 miles east of Jordan-Hare Stadium, and he frequented home games on a regular basis. Fittingly enough, he was brought home from the hospital at birth wearing Auburn booties.
That doesn't mean other schools weren't in the running. He heavily considered Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, among others, before announcing his commitment in August. Ultimately, he just felt at home in Auburn.
"I felt the love that [my father] felt when I went down there," he said. "If he was comfortable with it and I was comfortable with it, then we decided we should just roll with it."
Rose can match up with anyone. His lanky 6-foot-1 frame equals that of most SEC wideouts, and his quick, lengthy stride makes him difficult to beat deep. His stats are terrific as well: he recorded 73 tackles and five interceptions (two pick sixes) for a unit that allowed just over seven points a game.
Rose also came through in the clutch. His lockdown coverage and punt return skills (he averaged 61.3 yards per return and had five touchdowns) propelled the Green Wave to a 17-0 record and an Alabama 3A title in 2010. His championship game performance included a 38-yard touchdown reception and an 84-yard pick six.
"Senior year, you want to go out with a bang," he said. "What's a bigger bang than an interception [returned] for a touchdown?"
He'll try to replicate that success as a freshman, when he could see immediate playing time. Auburn starting cornerback Demond Washington graduates at season's end, opening a void that Rose could potentially fill. His comfort on the big stage should ease his transition.
Until then, he'll continue to prepare, working with a trainer to hone his already stellar deliverables (4.49 40, 36-inch vertical leap). He plans on attending a number of offseason camps, though he admits he'll take time off to watch the BCS national championship on Jan. 10.
Rose isn't shy about offering a prediction.
"It's gonna be a high scoring game," he said. "I got all Auburn all the way."