Another promising walk-on to introduce ...
If there was one unanswered question Wednesday from the opening day of spring practice, it was this: Who was the walk-on defensive end working out in streetclothes for the Bulls?
We got the answer today, and like many walk-ons, it's an intriguing story. His name is Dominique Rocker, and he's a 6-foot-2, 235-pound defensive end from Tavares, Fla., who signed with Iowa State in 2005 and spent two seasons at Garden City Community College, the same Kansas school where Bulls running back Andre Hall once played.
Rocker was a three-star recruit (by Rivals; two stars from Scout) as a running back at Tavares -- he rushed for about 2,400 yards and 50 touchdowns in his final two seasons. The Orlando Sentinel tabbed him as the No. 40 overall prospect in the state in 2005; by comparison, Matt Grothe was No. 23 on that list, Mike Ford No. 31 and Carlton Hill No. 53. USF recruited him hard out of high school -- his coach at Tavares, George Sneed, remembers Jim Leavitt visiting him on campus and offering him a scholarship. Sneed remembers Auburn offering him, and the recruiting sites list him with offers from Louisville and West Virginia as well.
Here's the catch: He hasn't played football since 2004. He redshirted his first season at Garden City in 2005 after failing to qualify academically at Iowa State, then hurt his shoulder and knee and took a medical redshirt in 2006. He wasn't at Garden City last fall, but completed his associate of arts degree and was able to get into USF on his own, starting classes this spring. He'll have at least two years of eligibility, and because of the medical redshirt, there's the potential to get a third year; again, let him get through a spring before we get to those kinds of things.
"All the potential in the world. Tons of upside," said Lucas Aslin, his coach at Garden City, who said he wanted to try him at defensive end, but Rocker wanted to play running back. "He's a big son of a gun, would have been a real good player if he'd been healthy here. He'll do a great job."