Photo via Jerome Miron, USA Today Sports

Larry Rose III has already accomplished a tremendous amount during his three seasons at New Mexico State. He already has the single season rushing record and is primed to move up the career touchdowns mark, where he is fourth all time in that category. As he enters his final season in Las Cruces, there’s still one goal that he’s looking to check off.

“For me, the goal is to go out, have fun and do what I can to help the team get back to a bowl game,” Rose said following a practice last week, “That’s what I came down here for ever since I was a freshman. I wanted to help turn this program around and that’s still my goal.”

Photo via Tony Venegas, TexasHSFootball.com

Any bowl game this season would be a significant accomplishment for the Aggies. The team has not played a postseason game since 1960, which is the longest bowl drought in the country.

Individually, Rose is also motivated to finish a season fully healthy. After missing three games last season due to a sports hernia, the former Fairfield star is hungry and ready to go.

“The injury has motivated me a lot,” Rose said, “You get a completely different perspective of the game from the sideline. I’m ready to go out there and show everybody that I’m capable of still doing what I’ve done in previous years.”

Fifth-year head coach Doug Martin has worked with Rose during his entire college career. He’s says he’s grown into a talented player but he’s done what it takes to get to where he is.

“The number one thing that stands out about Larry is his work ethic,” Martin said of his running back, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a scrimmage or a walkthrough. He’s always focused and always ready to play. He’s just really hungry to get back out there.”

That hunger has been apparent for Rose from the moment he left Fairfield, a town of about 3,000 and more than 60 miles east of Waco, to come to Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was a star for the Fairfield High Eagles, leading his team to a Class 3A state title in 2013 and putting up incredible numbers: 2,979 yards and 51 touchdowns.

Photo via Tony Venegas, TexasHSFootball.com

While he did receive offers from schools like Abilene Christian and Sam Houston State among others, Doug Martin and New Mexico State saw something that others didn’t.

“New Mexico State was the only FBS school that wanted me to play running back,” Rose said, Coach Martin means a lot to me. He was one of the few that believed in me coming out of high school and he gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. I go out every Saturday and I try to tell him thank you every chance I get by producing on and off the field.”

He still goes back home often and talks with his former head coach John Bachtel and regularly meets with the Fairfield teams moving up the ranks. Rose has alway always been about leading by example and wants to show them that they can do anything, whether its playing Division I football or not.

“It’s not very often that kids get out of a small town like Fairfield and get to go play Division I ball,” Rose said, “I just try to remind them that anything is possible as long as you keep God first and put your mind to it.

Rose and the Aggies play their first game Thursday night at Arizona State and the running back will be a focal point of the offense in that game and through the season. After being overlooked, Rose is ready to step into the spotlight as he runs with that hunger and chip on his shoulder.

“He’s always been a very quiet young man,” Martin said of Rose, “He’s self-motivated and he leads by example. This year, he’s really stepped up and been a vocal leader for us and been demanding of the other players. They respect and follow him and to see him accept that role has been a real maturing process.”

“It definitely gives me a chip on my shoulder,” Rose said, “All I want to do is to be able to go out there each Saturday and prove that I’m capable with playing with the best of them.”

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