Scott Porter sat down with the very talented Concordia WR Fred Rouse, formally of Florida State.
Scott Porter: What do you feel are your biggest strengths?
Fred Rouse: I am a great leader, and my knowledge of the game. I feel those two things really separate me apart from the other great WRs in college football. I am a film guy. I watch a ton of film on my opponent each week. I dissect film very carefully because it goes a long way. I point out the little things on game tape, and I feel those things all separate me from other WRs.
Scott Porter: What are your goals for the NFL?
Fred Rouse: My first goal is to set up a mentoring program. I want to have the impact LeBron James did on his city in Cleveland, where the city is built around you because you do so much for the community. I want to give back to my community. Give back to the schools I grew up around. I want to give back to the less fortunate. A lot of guys go into the NFL and their goals are to buy everything they can, as much as they can. They take their money and spend it all on themselves. That is not my mission at all. My mission is not for the money. I am not here to be flashy, I am here to give back and enjoy the game. So I would say my goal and my first priority once I get to the NFL is just to give back, and help those who are less fortunate.
Scott Porter: Is there a player in the NFL that reminds you of yourself?
Fred Rouse: Randy Moss. His attitude and talent level fit me to a tee. He stays to himself like I do. People forget how much talent I have.
Scott Porter: What are your greatest accomplishments on the field?
Fred Rouse: This one is mostly undecided, those are still to come, I promise you that. When I played at Florida State, I would say going to the Orange Bowl. I had a great season in UTEP, and if you asked me this in a few years I would have a lot more to say.
Scott Porter: What is the hardest part about playing college football in your opinion?
Fred Rouse: Had you asked me this question five years ago when I was first in the game, I would have said the speed of the game. However, five years later the speed of the game has slowed down to me. It did not take me long to adjust to the speed of the game. It didn’t really come that hard to me, I caught on real quick to the speed of the game. So I would say the answer really varies. When I first got to college the speed was the hardest part, but now everything has come pretty easy to me. I have done so much studying and breaking down my opponent, that I can recognize the defense when I come to the line of scrimmage.
Scott Porter: People are going to ask you about your past off field issues, how have you changed?
Fred Rouse: I would say there are a tremendous amount of players in the NBA, NFL, NHL, soccer, every single league, a ton of players who have been in trouble and grown from it and have now had success. I will not be any different than the ones who fall under that category. I made mistakes and I have overcome those mistakes. I have learned from them. Three years ago I would have never admitted to my mistakes, I would not have wanted to talk about them. I used to be embarrassed by the off field issues that haunted me. Now, I have used those situations to make a difference. I am admitting to my mistakes and understanding that is the past. I am making a difference from what I have learned from my past. I am making a portfolio as sort of a blue print to show people and make people a believer in me, so they know what I have done the past few years to change myself. I am doing stuff for my community and you see what Randy Moss has done in the NFL where his past haunted him during the draft.
Scott Porter: What hobbies do you have off the field?
Fred Rouse: I do a lot of reading. I don’t watch much TV. I have become a very spiritual person. I really don’t do a lot anymore. Those are the two biggest things. Five years ago I would have had a list of about 25 things with this question. I have cut it down to about two as I am very focused and have eliminated a lot of stuff in my life. When I go outside people are often asking me, where have you been, why haven’t I seen you. I just like to keep to myself now and stay focused. I pretty much focus on school and the football field and what I can do to better myself. I will be getting a degree this year in Business management. A lot of my credits did not transfer so I have had to take a lot of classes to obtain my degree. After I am done with this, I will be able to go back to Florida State or UTEP and finish up a degree in criminal justice as well.
Scott Porter: Who has been your biggest influence?
Fred Rouse: Besides God, I would say my biggest influence has been my girlfriend. She has always been there for me. She is younger than me. She gave birth to my daughter. She is just a tremendous person who I have learned so much from. She has a degree at Florida State in finance. She has showed me so much and has helped me become the person I have become. She has meant so much to me. How you respond to adversity defines the person you are.
Scott Porter: What will you miss most about college football?
Fred Rouse: School and the college atmosphere. There is nothing like college football. The fan base at the college football level is such an awesome experience. You’re not getting paid to play college football so you’re out there having fun and the game means so much. It’s not a business like the NFL is. The meaning of playing is a lot different when you’re not getting paid to play. It hurts me seeing college football on TV because of the crowds. I can’t watch games on Saturday, because there are about 300 people in the stands here at Concordia, and I know at one time I was playing in front of much bigger stadiums. It just really hurts me to know I could have been out there playing in those stadiums. Big stadiums and crows just feed me to go out there and do more.
Scott Porter: What will you do to prepare yourself for your chance at the NFL?
Fred Rouse: I will be doing a ton of different things. There are a lot of programs set up out there to help out people who are trying to get to the NFL. I was contacted by a few people about coming in and helping at WR academies. Houston WR coach Tony Lucas has been trying to help people who have past off-field issues by setting up programs. I would like to join a program like that and help people out myself. I want to be a member and give back and share my experiences and at the same time work out and work hard for my NFL chance. I am trying to get into Florida State’s pro day when the time comes.