Some of Atlanta’s college football prospects will be writing a weekly diary for the AJC until February’s signing day. They will be sharing their thoughts, opinions, adventures and perspectives on the recruiting journey.
A senior, Chase Rosenberg is about to enter his first season as the starting quarterback at Centennial High School in North Fulton. In 2011, the 6-foot-1, 188-pounder backed up Jimmy Meyer who is going to play at Harvard this fall and Rosenberg, who this season has a new head coach and is going from running the option offense to the full spread, is also hopeful of playing in the Ivy League.
The plan was six schools, four workouts and two visits with coaches in five days. If not for a rare 103-degree temperature day in Princeton it would have gone perfectly. Still, it was a tremendous experience as my father and I headed up north this summer to visit five Ivy League schools and the place that some guy named Vince Lombardi played his college football. I want to play college football, and while there have been some letters and calls from some schools down south; most of the interest has come from smaller northern colleges with renowned academics.
We started our trip by flying into Philadelphia and going to see University of Pennsylvania assistant coach Steve Downs, who recruits our area for the Quakers. The biggest thing that stood out to me, as I sat in the football lobby, was the tremendous football tradition. The lobby is covered with photos of teams that have won the Ivy League. Coach Downs was straight with me, telling me he wanted every player he recruited to have Penn as his No. 1 choice. He didn’t want Penn to be considered a fallback school. I guess I shouldn’t have told him I was going to Princeton that night, but Penn was sublime, and while walking around the old Franklin Field with all its history, I could see myself playing there.
We then drove to Princeton and toured the campus. It was incredible. My twin sisters go to UGA, and Princeton’s campus and the downtown area was a lot like Athens. One thing I noticed about Princeton was everything seemed either new or 200 years old. The next morning I went over for my first workout of the trip and knew it was hot when I hit the field at 8 a.m. The field was sandwiched between a $550 million chemistry building on one side and a planetarium on the other We went in shirt-and-shorts but wore helmets, and while I had a good morning session throwing the ball, at lunch my head was pounding me. We must have walked a mile to lunch and, there I literally pounded down eight Powerades. Recently, I had been to camps at Vanderbilt and Georgia but I could not remember heat like this. What I did notice, though, was while the talent at the Division I camps was much better, these players were just as driven as any I had seen. The difference was they are using football as a way to get into a school like Princeton.
After the practice, I got some face time with Princeton head coach Bob Surace, who just so happen to know my quarterback coach Chris Hixon, who played at Rhode Island and in the Arena Football League. It was a great starter to a good conversation.
We went back to the hotel and we had to make a decision. The next day was Saturday and my father had worked it out where I could work out for Dartmouth in the morning and then Yale in the afternoon. But we would have to drive the 315 miles to New Hampshire that night and then 2 ½ hours back to New Haven at lunchtime Saturday. My dad felt it was too much, so he called the Dartmouth coach and told him we reluctantly wouldn’t be able to make it. Instead, we went straight to Yale. I had a good day throwing and spent a lot of time talking to the coaches, especially quarterback coach Kevin Morris. After the workout, I got a chance to meet a lot of the coaches that were there from Division III schools including Amherst, Williams, Johns Hopkins and MIT. Yes, MIT has a football team, and I asked coach Brian Bubna what type of football player he recruited. He said most of the MIT players scored better than 700 on both math and verbal. I did well, but not that well.
We headed back to New York where I had a great corned beef sandwich at the Stage Deli and the next day I worked out at Columbia University. Interestingly, the sports complex is 100 blocks from the campus and the players are bused up there every morning and take classes in the afternoon. There weren’t as many players on this day, so I was able to get a lot of work in before talking to head coach Pete Mangurian for quite a while. Coach Mangurian was big on Atlanta and told me was an assistant for the Falcons under Dan Reeves.
My last stop the next day was at Fordham in the Bronx. I sat in the lunch room with coach William McCarty, who told me about the tradition with Lombardi and the Seven Blocks of Granite. While the campus was in the Bronx and the ride to get inside the gates was a little rough, it was beautiful and coach McCarty told me that there are a lot of advantages of going to school in New York, such as great internships. He also said his school now gives athletic scholarships and that one would go to a quarterback. We then drove back to Philadelphia, dropped off the rental car and flew back to Atlanta with a big bag of sweaty clothes.
With my first season as Centennial’s starting quarterback only a few weeks away, I would like to think that I could have the kind of season that would attract a big football name. But coach Jeff Carlberg, my new coach at Centennial, reminded me to pick the school I want to be at for me in case football doesn’t work out. I took that advice to heart.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons I went to the Princeton bookstore and bought a baseball hat, just in case that call with an offer comes.
Editor’s note: The AJC’s intent with the player diaries is to demonstrate what the thought processes are for seniors at different levels of success as they go through their senior seasons. Please keep the comments civil or we will be forced to close commenting.