One of the best players from the Silver State this season is offensive tackle Arturo “A.J.” Rodriguez (6-5, 288, 5.3) from Las Vegas, Nev. Rodriguez will be a three-year starter when his senior season rolls around and was an all-region selection as a junior.
Rodriguez already has two scholarship offers from UNLV and Colorado State.
“Almost every school from the Mountain West Conference has been by the school to see A.J.,” Las Vegas head coach Chris Faircloth said. “A.J. is a little bit under exposed, but we think that will change after he attends the Adidas football camp being held at UCLA this weekend.”
Pac-10 schools ASU and Oregon State are ahead of the learning curve regarding Rodriguez and have been by the school already this spring. Utah State and Fresno State have also been by the Las Vegas high school campus this spring.
“What separates A.J. from the rest is he has a real mean streak,” Faircloth said. “He plays offense with a defensive linemen’s mentality.”
“A.J. is a great finisher of blocks,” Faircloth said. “He is relentless in finding another opponent once he knocks his first man is down.”
Rodriguez does have the habit of knocking people down. He had 40 pancake blocks in 2003. Out of 14 games a year ago, Rodriguez rated out the highest out of the linemen, seven times.
“A.J. is a monster on the line and can’t keep him out of the weight room,” Las Vegas offensive line coach Art Plunkett said. “He could be the best lineman we have had in my eight years as an assistant coach here.”
High praise indeed, the reason Plunkett’s statement is so powerful is that his own son Richie Plunkett was an all-state and all-region offensive tackle a year ago for Las Vegas high. Plunkett’s son signed with the Colorado Rams last February.
Plunkett should know about offensive linemen he played in a super bowl with the New England Patriots. He also played for the Los Angeles Rams and the St. Louis Cardinals after standing out for UNLV.