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69 DAYS TO KICKOFF: Tavon Rooks


#73 Tavon Rooks
True Junior
6-5 | 270
Randallstown, Md.


Position: Offensive Line

Previous College: Navarro Junior College

Projection: Starter

Status: On Scholarship

Tavon Rooks (b. May 10, 1990) is one of my favorite recruits in the 2012 class.

It's not that he fills a desperate need. Despite the departure of Manase Foketi, we're pretty good at right tackle thanks to the emergence of Cody Whitehair. Plus, Rooks needs to pack on about 20 more pounds to be effective.

It's not because he enrolled early and already was on the second team by the time the spring game arrived, although having that extra time under his belt certainly doesn't hurt.

It's because he spurned a Big 12 rival that's much closer to home, West Virginia, to become a Cat. (He also turned down Pittsburgh after Todd Graham bailed, but that's less relevant to me because ACC teams don't matter.)

You see, I find quotes such as these rather endearing:

My family really wanted me to sign with West Virginia, but I just kept reminding myself to look at it like a business deal. They're a little sad right now but they're supporting me. I talked to some of the kids out at K-State from out of state and just like they told me, I'm going to get my family out to games. We play at West Virginia next year so that will be one. But I'm going to do everything I can to get them out and see me play.

K-State has established themselves on the Big 12 level and while West Virginia is a great team with a great offense, sometimes you need a change. In the NFL, you have to be able to do it all as a lineman. Power, outside, pass blocking. I felt like Kansas State gave me the opportunity to assure myself of improving my game and reaching my goals.

The success that Coach Snyder has had with junior college guys, that brought me right into it from the beginning and that was the closing point today. They just know how to work with JC kids. Coach Snyder is a great guy and a great coach. He's been a part of the program for over 20 years. He feels the need to coach and he doesn't want to give up and that's what attracts me to him as a player.

My heart was just telling me to go to Kansas State. You know... you can't go wrong with your heart.

My focus now is on being the player they want me to be and the player I know I can be. I don't want to be a bust... I'm not going to be a bust.

Kind of makes you proud to be a K-Stater, huh?

Rooks was rated as the No. 23 junior college player in the country by and is considered by many to have been the top pass blocker among available junior college offensive linemen.

He and Marquez Clark led Navarro to a 21-3 record in two seasons, including a national title in 2010 and a No. 5 national ranking in 2011. Navarro had the No. 5 ranked passing offense with Rooks on the line in 2011.