In the Boy Scouts of America, reaching the rank of Eagle Scout takes an incredible commitment. I know this because I tried, and ultimately didn’t reach it. One person that did, though – UK football running back AJ Rose.
“I didn’t tell anybody (on the team)” Rose said at UK’s Media Day. “I just kept that to myself. A little self-confidence thing, you know?”
To reach the rank of Eagle Scout, one must have been a Life Scout – the fifth rank on the ladder – for six months, earn 21 merit badges demonstrating specific personal and outdoor skills, plan a service project that benefits his community and undergo a board of review by Scout leaders from the area.
Rose completed all this for Troop 983 in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. After coming to UK, he kept it to himself so that not even his fellow running back, Kavosiey Smoke, knew.
“I never heard of it. He didn’t ever tell anybody that,” Smoke said. “That’s something new I just heard today.”
Smoke did say, though, that it made sense because of Rose’s drive to be a leader.
“He feels like he’s got to step up… he’s the biggest leader of our group, and I appreciate him for that,” Smoke said.
For Rose, though, being an Eagle Scout wasn’t about showing a title to demonstrate that he has the abilities to be a leader. It was about developing himself.
“It definitely impacts me on the field,” Rose said. “The toughness, the grit… just teaching me man skills. I use those skills every day in my life.
“Once I start something, I finish it. Once I started Boy Scouts, I knew the highest rank was Eagle so I had no choice but to finish it.”
The organization runs in his family as well – Rose said he achieved that rank for his grandma and aunt, and that his brother reached the same rank of Eagle he did.
Rose said he’s excited that UK will host a Boy Scout troop at a game this season, and that it’s something he’s really looking forward to because he always loves spending time with troop members and those in the organization.
A lot of players can say they’re leaders and demonstrate that in the locker room. Rose showed up with the credentials before he ever stepped on the field.