A Rose by any other name ...

GJ's Kyler Rose a mix of hard-nosed football player, quick-witted, smart student

Grand Junction High School linebacker Kyler Rose has a 4.22 GPA in the classroom and tracks down ball carriers with a vengeance on the football field.

He’s offered to take a freshman for lunch, not for a hazing. His Ivy League smarts are well-known around the school. And on the football field, he can be an easy spot, No. 76, at 270 pounds, sprinting some 20 yards downfield and dragging down a running back.

But don’t think you have Grand Junction’s Kyler Rose pegged.

School was out Tuesday at Grand Junction High School, and some of those who know the senior with the 4.22 grade-point average stop and speak about what some might be surprised to know about Rose. Offensive guard DeShaun Harris walked by the west wing and noted Rose, whose top college choice is Colorado School of Mines, is not axed from the Ivy League, vest-and-wire-rimmed-glasses mold. He’s a teenager.

“One time he had a sucker, and there was a cockroach in it and he ate it,” Harris said. “It was disgusting. Then he stuck out his tongue and showed us.”

Sometimes, giving laughs is the best gift. In addition to his reputation of having a giving heart and quick-witted mind, that’s just Rose.

“I mean, I’m responsible, so in that way I’m mature,” Rose said. “I’m not too organized. If you saw my bedroom, my mom’s always getting on me about it. So, I’m not so mature on the personality side. I’m a dork. I’m a goofy guy. That’s just who I am. But in the classroom I’m just straight focused on what I have to do.”

He’s calm, but ready to hit the field and get his 5.7 tackles per game.

“You know that if you had 22 of him,” Tigers coach Robbie Owens said, “you’d win a state championship.”

Soon, Austin Berk, the Tigers 6-foot-5 defensive end, walked by and dropped his thoughts on Rose’s personality.

“He just makes very smart comebacks,” Berk said, laughing, then staring at Rose a few seconds to organize his thoughts. “He can twist anything to be opposite to make it work in his favor.”

Even his demeanor. You see the calm outside, and you’re fooled.

“You can’t tell I’m ready to go,” Rose said. “I look like I’m calm.”

Calm and quick-witted are the words, and Rose probably can say them in Spanish.

“I think I told his mom the other day, ‘He’s amazing,’ ” said Kathy Kessler, Rose’s Spanish 4 teacher. “He’s a real good student, and he seems to remember everything and figure things out. And he’s real good at problem solving. Plus attitude — he’s just got a really good attitude.”

When Rose was a kid growing up with his older brother Chandon, the brothers’ favorite book was “The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein. Although the boy in the book kept taking from the tree, the tree kept on giving. Or something like that.

“I just looked at it as a good way to live your life,” Rose said. “I haven’t read the book in awhile, but there’s basically like this boy, and he grows up with the tree, and he keep asking for things. He needs a trunk to make a canoe so he can go down the river and whatnot. ... The tree is personified; it talks. And the tree still loves the boy no matter what.”

On the field, even during the most disappointing of defeats, Rose rarely, if ever, flashes a temper. Sure, he’s competitive. But after the game, perspective seems to set in. After Grand Junction lost to Montrose 41-21 on Oct. 19, the teams lined up for traditional sportsmanship low-5s, and Rose was smiling and talking and congratulating some Indians players.

He’s the lead-by-example type. Calm but tenacious, hoping others will follow.

“It’s hard to find guys that have that type of commitment,” Owens said, “and the ability to do things at the high school level, no matter what they’re involved in. He’s pretty special.”


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