Leicester High senior fullback/linebacker Tom Rodrick has verbally committed to UConn for the 2014 season, he announced tonight on Twitter.
— Tom R (@DoctorTom315) August 7, 2013
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Rodrick has been an integral part of the Wolverines these past two seasons, helping them capture a MIAA Division 5 Super Bowl title in 2011 and a return trip to the title game in 2012. This past season, he led the Wolverines in tackles (92) and led Central Mass. in sacks (14), and offensively recorded 437 yards and eight touchdowns from the fullback position. At camps this offseason, Rodrick has recorded 40-yard dash times as low as 4.57 seconds.
At the time of his commitment, Rodrick also had an offer from UMass, while Rhode Island and Villanova have also expressed varying degrees of interest. He visited UConn practice today, after which he made his pledge to the Huskies' 2014 recruiting class.
"It just felt right," Rodrick said. "I really liked practice, I like [head coach Paul] Pasqualoni and I like their linebackers coach [John Wholley], I like how the team is put together."
According to Wolverines head coach Tim Griffiths, the program has never sent a player to a Division 1 FBS program before Rodrick. To be the first, Rodrick said, "is an honor".
"We've got so many people who have gone through Leicester that we still talk about...We've had so many awesome players, it's an honor to be the first," Rodrick said.
At UConn, Rodrick will likely fit into a hybrid edge defensive player, playing mostly outside linebacker but potentially playing a five-technique defensive end on third downs. At Leicester, Rodrick rarely plays with his hand in the ground, but would like to improve on his pass rush technique before arriving in Storrs.
"As a defensive end I'd like to put on a couple more pounds, up to 250," he said. "I have a few [moves], rip and swim, stuff like that, but I need to work on my hammer a little bit better. That was something I really liked about Coach Pasqualoni, he's coached so many great defensive ends."
Rodrick admits the decision between UConn and UMass was a tough one, as his brother currently attends the latter as a student.
"It was pretty big, to be honest," he said. "But with that said, UMass did a very good job recruiting me. They sent me 15 letters yesterday, from the whole coaching staff...It was definitely [a tough decision], especially because the coaches at UMass seemed like genuine guys. I've got nothing bad to say about UMass at all, it was actually kinda tough telling them I'm going to UConn."
Scouts Inc. ranks Rodrick as the No. 14 overall prospect in Massachusetts, saying: "Rodrick is a two-way player in high school. Is a full back who gets a lot of quick hitting carries. Runs very up right and may be susceptible to direct shots if defender has angle. Will need to add size and strength to his frame but looks to be capable of supporting. Most likely a low level Division 1 prospect." (Full evaluation HERE)
Below are some highlights from his junior and sophomore seasons: