Overlooked and Underrated: The Larry Rose III Story

David White

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NMSU’s 57-year bowl-game drought ended on December 29, 2017. The Aggies had triumphed over Utah State University in the Arizona Bowl in their first bowl game appearance since 1960. This legendary game ended in a fitting fashion, with NMSU’s own Larry Rose III punching in a 21-yard touchdown run in overtime to seal a 26-20 victory over the Utah State Aggies. This would be the final game of Rose’s college days, but not the end of his football career.

Larry Rose III played high school football in Fairfield, Texas, where he was unable to accumulate an overly impressive repertoire. According to 24/7sports.com, Rose III completed his senior year as a 2-star prospect and the 178-ranked high school running-back prospect in the country. Despite this, he was still on the radar of many organizations, including Coach Doug Martin. On February 5, 2014, Rose would officially sign his letter of intent to play at New Mexico State University, after a previous verbal commitment a month prior.

The freshman running back came to NM State to prove his talents in spite of his high school rankings, and he wasted no time in doing so. Rose III won the starting job entering the 2014 season, and tallied an impressive 1102 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns, along with 172 receiving yards and a touchdown. Despite this, the Aggies would muster a measly 2-10 record on the season, coming in at last place in the Sun Belt Conference. 

The following season, Rose III saw nothing but improvement, as he exploded once again, this time for 1940 scrimmage yards and 16 total touchdowns. This output earned him the eighth-most rushing yards of the season and seventh for total scrimmage yards, putting him just past a future NFL star in Dalvin Cook. Once again, however, his stellar showings on the field could not translate into team success, as the Aggies saw a slight improvement to 3-9 on the season. Rose III saw a bit of a step backwards in his 2016 season, as he only appeared in 9 games that season, garnering only 1045 total yards and 4 touchdowns, along with another disappointing 3-9 season from the Aggies. 

The 2015 college football season would be the swing of fate the Aggies needed, as individual stats and team success would finally coexist. While Rose III was unable to match his previous rushing statistics, he still tallied a respectable 934 yards and 10 touchdowns, along with a career year in receiving, catching 55 passes for 522 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not only did Rose III flourish, but his team would improve to 6-6 on the year, earning themselves a bowl game against the 6-6 Utah State Aggies. Rose III would make the most of this opportunity, taking the fate of the season into his hands. Rose III rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown, along with 6 catches for 48 yards, leading the Aggies to a stunning 26-20 overtime victory in the Arizona Bowl.

An illustrious college career such as Larry Rose III pointed many to his potential professional playing opportunities. Rose III has bounced between several teams in several leagues at the professional level., including stints with the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams of the NFL, the Arizona Hotshots of the now-folded AAF, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL, and his most recent team, the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL. While Rose III has yet to find a team to call his own long-term, the only route from here is upward. Whether or not he has the opportunity to continue his professional football career, he will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest NMSU football players of all time, as well as an all-time great college football running back.

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