Kentucky running back prepared for gridiron challenges thanks to Scouting

Photo courtesy of UK Athletics

When Kentucky’s starting quarterback went down with a knee injury last week, the Wildcat offense suddenly faced an unexpected challenge: tackling a formidable conference schedule without one of its captains.

Going into this Saturday’s match-up with Florida, the No. 9 team in the country, every player on UK’s offense will have to step up to take on the Gators on a national stage. The game will be on ESPN at 7 p.m. EST. One player ready for the challenge is running back Asim “A.J.” Rose, who can credit his preparedness to Scouting. 

Rose earned the Eagle Scout Award in 2016 with Troop 983 in Cleveland, Ohio; he advanced through the ranks of Scouting starting as a Tiger Scout.

“I love Scouting and what it brought to my life,” Rose says. “Scouting isn’t easy by far. Every merit badge was different; I put in a lot of work for them.”

Photo courtesy of UK Athletics

Around the same time he began his Scouting journey with Pack 983, he started playing Pop Warner youth football. In high school, he played football and basketball while also doing track and field events.

“When I wasn’t doing sports, I was doing Scouts,” he says. “When I wasn’t doing Scouts, I was doing sports.”

Some of his favorite activities included shotgun shooting, camping and first aid. He also got to attend a national jamboree.

For his Eagle Scout project, Rose collected about 5,000 toiletry items for the Ronald McDonald House, a charity that supports families with sick children in hospitals.

Eagle on the gridiron

Rose, a junior, has racked up 146 rushing yards in two games so far this year, including two touchdowns. Last season, he ended the year with 442 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns as the No. 14 Wildcats finished with a 9-3 record and a Citrus Bowl win over Penn State.

The student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel, reported that Rose’s teammates see his character shine on the football field.

“He feels like he’s got to step up … he’s the biggest leader of our group, and I appreciate him for that,” fellow running back Kavosiey Smoke told the paper.

Rose, who has met with local Scout families who come to watch practices or games, encourages Scouts that they can find balance in their schedules to pursue their passions.

“Scouting is a great addition to sports,” Rose says. “Scouting impacted my life tremendously. If you want to be part of something special, you’ll find the time to do both.”

About Michael Freeman 121 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is associate editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.