Today is July 26, 2019, which means we are officially just 36 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, we profiled Jesse Allen. A former walk-on turned starting fullback who exemplified Virginia Tech’s blue-collar mentality.
For No. 36, we look back at Aaron Rouse. Rouse arrived at Virginia Tech in 2002, as a two-star athlete from First Colonial High in Virginia Beach. In high school, the 6’4”, 200-pound Rouse played wide receiver and linebacker and was an first-team all-state performer.
Rouse redshirted in 2002, while working at outside linebacker. In 2003 during his redshirt freshman season, Rouse would play special teams and backup linebacker. appearing in all 13 games. He made one start and finished that season with 46 tackles, including three for loss. Rouse looked like a special player every time he saw the field. His blend of size, speed and overall athleticism was a rare combination.
In 2004, Rouse continued to serve as a backup linebacker. During his first two seasons, he played behind some pretty good linebackers like Mikal Baaqee, Vegas Robinson, Vince Hall, James Anderson and Brandon Manning. During that 2004 season, he again played in every game, making 37 tackles, included 2.5 for loss and forcing a fumble.
It was 2005 when Rouse took off. Bud Foster moved him to rover and he excelled. He started all 13 games, finishing third on the team in tackles with 77, 4.5 tackles for loss and also led the Hokies with four interceptions. He was one of the best safeties in the country at a time when big and fast safeties were becoming a hot commodity thanks to Sean Taylor. He was selected to the All-ACC first team after the season.
In 2006, hopes were high for Rouse. Unfortunately, Rouse struggled in a game against Georgia Tech and he briefly lost his starting job. However, he regained his spot, played in all 13 games, making 10 starts. He finished third on the team in tackles with 57, including two for loss and one interception. While his senior season didn’t quite live up to the prior season, Rouse was still a force and as the season wore on looked more and more like the player from the previous season.
The NFL recognized Rouse’s potential. He measured in at 6’4”, 223 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine and also ran a 4.59 second 40-yard dash. That led him to getting drafted in the third round by the Green Bay Packers.
Rouse played three seasons for the Packers, getting released in 2009 before being picked up by the New York Giants where he spent the remainder of that season. In 2010, he was signed by the Arizona Cardinals, but was released before he ever played a game.
After his time in the NFL, Rouse played in the UFL in 2010 for the Omaha Nighthawks before spending the 2011 season with the Virginia Destroyers. The highlight of his time there was his performance in the UFL championship where he picked off three passes and was named the game’s MVP.
After his playing career ended, Rouse would get into politics, becoming a Virginia Beach council member. When Rouse was running for his current seat, former Hokie head coach Frank Beamer showed up and supported him.
Rouse was Kam Chancellor before Kam Chancellor. He was an athletic, hard-hitting safety whose physicality was as impressive as the ground he covered. Now, much like numerous other Hokies on our countdown, he is doing big things. Rouse is determined to make a positive impact in his hometown and he’s become a leader for his city much like he was for the Hokies during his time in Blacksburg.
Keep up the great work, Aaron. Hokie Nation is always behind you.