Andrew Rose always thought of himself as a basketball player first, which made sense, considering he’d played three years of varsity for Broadneck’s program.
When Bruins football coach Rob Harris called Rose up to varsity, it set the 6-foot-6 senior down a different, unexpected path.
Rose made his announcement that he’d committed to coach Rob Ambrose and Towson University through a Twitter post on Thursday night.
“To be honest, a year ago if you would have told me I would be playing football at Towson, I’d say ‘no way,’ ” the tight end said. “I wouldn’t have expected it. It’s an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up and I’m really happy about my decision.”
The mood of Rose’s home, like many across the globe, had been darkened by the threat of coronavirus. But the news of his commitment, a glimmer of hope for the future, brightened it.
“My family, we’re all just kind of celebrating it,” Rose said.
Rose, who earned a preferred walk-on offer from the Tigers, amassed 235 yards on 22 receptions this fall, collecting two touchdown passes — against Glen Burnie on Sept. 20 and Arundel on Nov. 1. Rose was also a starting forward for the Broadneck basketball team, averaging 10 points and eight rebounds.
The transition from basketball to football wasn’t totally foreign to Rose — the movements and footwork, he said, were mostly similar.
“Mental toughness was a big one for me. Not necessarily listening to your head saying ‘stop, stop,’ " Rose said. "I learned to push myself and get through those hard times whether we were doing up-downs, stingers, or whatever consequences for a mistake. Just having that mindset of getting through this.”
But one year of varsity football experience usually isn’t enough to win attention from a Division I school, let alone one that’s garnered a bigger platform thanks to quarterback Tom Flacco. Rose only began his football career as a sophomore, on the junior varsity team, and then lost his entire junior season to ankle surgery.
And then, in October, was the evidence. Towson tight ends and fullbacks coach Bill Lang appeared before one of Rose’s practices to talk. It came like an epiphany for Rose. Suddenly, he wasn’t just a basketball player who played football after all.
“It’s all because of the coaches. We have some of the best coaches in the state, in my opinion," Rose said. “… Doesn’t matter if they’re offense, defense, special teams, volunteers. They’re such a big help and they’ve taught me on and off the field. Going from asking where my equipment was to Division I, was hard to believe for me. I won’t be able to stop saying it’s exciting. I can’t control it.”
Broadneck coach Rob Harris believes Towson isn’t even quite sure what it has on its hands yet.
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“He’s a great kid. He works hard. He’s very coachable,” Harris said. “He’s obviously not even really scratched the surface of his talent yet. I think the coaching staff there sees a kid that’s a diamond in the rough, somebody they can polish and make into a really good player with only one year. But at his size, he’s very intriguing to them.”
On JV, Rose had been playing on the offensive line, and it’s that — coupled with all the power being 250 pounds and 6-foot-6 brings — that Harris knows will make Rose a weapon unlike your typical tight end.
Northeast senior Jaylin Albury averaged 16.8 points, 6.4 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 4.1 steals per game this season to headline the Capital Gazette boys basketball All-County teams as Player of the Year.
“I think as he develops and gets better and better as a player, he has a chance to be a really good two-way player," Harris said. “That’s something that’s harder and harder to find. You can find a receiving tight end, or a blocking tight end, but to find someone that’s able to do both.
"Andrew’s got great feet, he’s got good hands. He’s got a chance to develop into a really good tight end as a receiving threat, but then on the other side he’s a big kid that’s just beginning to get into the weight room. He’s every bit of 6-6, 250. That’s somebody that’s gonna be able to move people and block.”
Rose joins former Broadneck standout Robert Schwob in the Towson tight end crew. Schwob, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound redshirt junior, is a transfer from Maryland.