Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #23 DB
Height: 6-2 Weight: 182 Age: 27
Born: 4/7/1986 Bradenton , FL
College: Tennessee State
Experience: 6th season
High School: Lakewood Ranch HS [Bradenton, FL]
Selected By: Arizona Cardinals
Pick (Overall): 16 (16)
Not since Aeneas Williams terrorized receivers at Southern University (1987-90) has a Division 1-AA cornerback dominated like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Thrust into the starting lineup midway through his freshman campaign, the speedy defender has shown exceptional shutdown ability and displayed the natural hands needed to excel as an interceptor. He also excelled as a kickoff returner and saw action as a receiver during his senior campaign.
In 39 starts for the Tigers, opposing quarterbacks completed just 55 of 161 passes (34.16%) thrown in Rodgers-Cromartie's immediate area. He intercepted 11 of those throws, deflected 25 and held the opposition to a miniscule 3.54 yards per pass attempt, the best of any collegiate defensive back over the last three seasons.
In addition to his stellar play, Rodgers-Cromartie has also been a standout performer for the TSU track team. Despite juggling football spring drills with the indoor and outdoor track seasons in 2007, he qualified for the NCAA Mid-East Regionals after he captured the Ohio Valley Conference long jump title (25' 0.75"). In only his second outdoor event, he was named OVC Male Athlete of the Week after finishing third at the Penn Relays with a conference-best long jump of 24'10".
During the OVC Indoor Track Championships, Rodgers-Cromartie was name the top male athlete with a sensational performance. He won the 60-meter dash (6.89), long jump (25' 0.75") and high jump (6' 9.5") and finished second in the triple-jump (48' 8"). What made those finishes even more impressive was the fact that he performed most of the indoor season while nursing an ankle sprain.
Excelling in two sports is nothing new for Rodgers-Cromartie. The All-Area and All-District defensive back and wide receiver at Lakewood Ranch High School was regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the South, receiving a four-star rating from Rivals.com. The High School Recruiting Report named him the most underrated prospect in the state of Florida. He also competed as a jumper and sprinter on the track team.
Rodgers-Cromartie enrolled at Tennessee State, where he shared playing time with Aaron Strong for the first half of the 2004 campaign. He would go on to start six games at strong-side cornerback, including the last five games. He posted 33 tackles (22 solo) with a stop for a loss while recovering two fumbles, returning one for a touchdown. Named the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Newcomer of the Year by The Gridiron Report, he also batted away three passes and returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns. He blocked a punt for an 11-yard return and also had a 19-yard kickoff return.
As a sophomore, Rodgers-Cromartie started every game. He ranked fifth on the team with 41 tackles (34 solo), including three stops behind the line of scrimmage. He deflected five passes, intercepted another and returned a blocked punt 17 yards. He also gained 34 yards on two kickoff returns and caught one pass for eight yards in brief action as a receiver. He allowed just 1.86 yards per pass attempt, the lowest total by a Division 1-AA defender in a season since Aeneas Williams averaged 1.99 yards (on 58 throws) for Southern University in 1990.
The junior defender ranked third in the nation and led the OVC with six interceptions in 2006. He finished fourth on the squad with 47 tackles (37 solo) and two stops for losses. He also blocked two kicks and had seven pass deflections, earning first-team All-OVC and All-American honors. He allowed just 3.64 yards per pass attempt, the best figure in the Division 1-AA ranks for the second consecutive year.
In 2007, Rodgers-Cromartie earned third-team All-American honors from The NFL Draft Report. He added All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team accolades for the second straight year, as he was used not only on defense, but also handled kickoff returns while seeing brief action on offense. He recorded 37 tackles (28 solo) with two stops for losses and a pair of fumble recoveries. He deflected 11 passes and picked off two others, returning both interceptions for touchdowns. He also blocked four punts, gained 38 yards on a reception, 16 yards on four punt returns and 16 yards on two carries, finishing his final campaign with 1,016 all-purpose yards.
In 44 games at Tennessee State, Rodgers-Cromartie started 39 times. He recorded 158 tackles (121 solo) with eight stops for losses of 30 yards, adding 14 more tackles on the kick-coverage units. He recovered four fumbles, returning one for a touchdown and blocked eight kicks. He deflected 26 passes and intercepted 11 others for 314 yards (28.5-yard average) in returns with four touchdowns.
Rodgers-Cromartie also had two receptions for 46 yards, two carries for 16 yards and six punt returns for 44 yards (7.3-yard average). He added 859 yards on 36 kickoff returns (23.9 avg). Of the 161 passes thrown into his territory, the opposition managed to catch just 55 balls (34.16 completion percentage) for 620 yards and three touchdowns. He allowed just 3.85 yards per pass attempt during his career with the Tigers.