Stamford Advocate

Rouse making his father proud

- By Michael Fornabaio; @fornabaioc­tp

He was a teacher who instilled in his son to be a sponge and learn everything he could. He had a landscapin­g company, and his lawns looked the best.

“He was a chemist, and dealing with chemicals, he had to be precise, down to a ‘T’,” Melvin Rouse II said about his father, Melvin. “The mindset when I started playing was to always be locked in on the little details.”

Melvin Rouse II, a senior receiver — let’s go with football player — for Yale, has a striking first-person piece on Sideline Therapy on losing his father and grandfathe­r months apart when he was in high school, the ways his father influenced him and the connection­s he made after those terrible months.

“I’ve gotten way more vulnerable,” Rouse said this week.

“It kind of started in high school with my teammates then. My whole entire football team came to my dad’s funeral. That was the first time I really opened up.”

Being that open with teammates translates onto the field, he said. That vulnerabil­ity builds trust.

“I might not be getting the ball that game, but I’m blocking for the other guy because I know his story. I know their lives,” Rouse said. “Once you understand why the guy next to you is doing it, you play a lot


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harder than you play for yourself.”

Rouse’s leadership shines through for Yale coach Tony Reno, whose Bulldogs are 2-1, 1-0 in the Ivy League, going into Saturday’s game in New Hampshire against Dartmouth.

“He went from being a part of a group of guys in 2017, and really sponged up — we had a great captain that year in Spencer Rymiszewsk­i,” Reno said, “and (Rouse) pulled a lot from him and from Kurt Rawlings and from J.P. Shohfi.

“You see a lot of that in how he leads. That’s probably been the thing that I’m most proud about is him developing as a person. The player stuff ’s easy.”

Yet Rouse has made some tricky on-field shifts look easy.

Arriving at Yale in 2017 from Charlotte (N.C.) Latin, where his teammates had included New York Giants quarterbac­k Daniel Jones, Rouse played his first six Bulldogs games at receiver.

 ?? Yale athletics / Contribute­d photo ?? Yale junior Melvin Rouse (7) makes a Holy Cross defender miss.
Yale athletics / Contribute­d photo Yale junior Melvin Rouse (7) makes a Holy Cross defender miss.

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