August 8, 2008

Elite Arizona junior OL Rowland likes ASU

Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial is coming off back-to-back state championships and one of the key reasons was the play of offensive guard Nick Rowland.

Rowland was named the most valuable player for the offensive line at the National Underclassmen Combine. He figures to be one of the top linemen in Arizona this season and among the best in the region for the class of 2010.

Recruits from the class of 2010 (entering their junior year) can't officially be offered scholarships until September 1st but Rowland already has a list of early favorites and its a safe bet many offers will come early in the process.

"My top schools in no particular order are ASU, UofA, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Colorado and Notre Dame," Rowland said. "I have been hearing from all of those schools except for Notre Dame."

Rowland said that he is wide open in regards to when he he will make a college decision but has a good idea what he is looking for from the schools that will recruit him.

"Location doesn't matter," Rowland said. "I just want to go somewhere that I can be comfortable. Good academics will be important. I definitely want a shot at winning a national championship."

A second-team all-region performer, Rowland is an Arizona native and has grown up rooting for the hometown Sun Devils.

"I was pretty much raised on ASU tailgates," Rowland said. "I have met coach (Dennis) Erickson and got to talk to coach (Dan) Cozzetto and Coach (Gregg) Smith when I was down at ASU. Coach Erickson is doing a really good job there."

Despite winning the state championship, Rowland and his teammates still feel they have a score to settle with rival Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton, the only team to beat them in the last year.

"The season starts next week," Rowland said. "Camp went great and I think we have a good shot at threepeating. We have a really good senior class. We open with Desert Ridge on September 5th. We also have a really big home game on September 12th vs Hamilton. I can't wait."

Rowland's size, technique and ability to play at a consistently high level as a sophomore has no doubt impressed college recruiters.

"I think [my strengths are] my pass blocking and I think I have a real good burst off the ball," Rowland said. "I like to hit and I really try to always finish my blocks. I will be at left guard starting out but if coach needs to move me then I can move.

"I don't have any personal goals. Any accolades that come my way will come because we win as a team. Our goal as a team is to win a state championship and to be the first 5A team to win three in row."

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