The long journey of Fred Rouse 

September, 11, 2009

Five years ago Fred Rouse was touted as one of the top 10 prospects in the country. Before his senior season at Tallahassee's Lincoln High School, the wide receiver told me, in an interview for an ESPN The Magazine article, that he thought he was ready to jump straight to the NFL. Rouse signed with the Florida State Seminoles and caught six passes as a freshman -- but didn't last long in Florida's capital.

Bobby Bowden kicked him off the team. Then Rouse, along with former teammate A.J. Nicholson, was charged with breaking into the apartment of running back Lorenzo Booker. Rouse resurfaced in 2007 with the UTEP Miners, where he caught 25 passes for 379 yards and two touchdowns. But again, it would be a short stay.

Coach Mike Price said that Rouse left for personal reasons. This fall, Rouse has resurfaced once again, this time at tiny Concordia College in Selma, Ala. The school has an enrollment of 500, isn't a FCS program or Division II or Division III or even an NAIA school. Coach Shepherd Skanes said they applied for NAIA and weren't accepted. Still, they are 1-1 this season and Rouse, now a 6-foot-4, 210-pounder who is majoring in business management, has caught a pair of TDs. ("He's been nothing but positive so far," Skanes says. "People on campus love him.") On Thursday, with Concordia about to face Shaw of North Carolina, which also happens to have another former five-star Florida State recruit on its team (Callahan Bright), I caught up with Rouse.

To read Bruce's interview with Fred Rouse -- and to learn about some top recruits who will be along the sidelines at tomorrow night's USC/OSU game, and to read some advice for Sam Bradford, you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider