Clifton Park native Rohrwasser drafted by Patriots, his tattoo draws controversy

First kicker selected in this year's NFL Draft was 2019 Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year at Marshall
Clifton Park native Justin Rohrwasser was selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Clifton Park native Justin Rohrwasser was selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.

Categories: Sports

Clifton Park native and former Holy Trinity standout Justin Rohrwasser was selected by the New England Patriots in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday, then spent part of the pick’s aftermath explaining a controversial tattoo on his left arm that social-media posts quickly noticed.

According to Masslive.com, Twitter users quickly noticed a tattoo featured prominently on Rohrwasser’s left forearm showing three roman numerals surrounded by a circle of stars, a symbol associated with the “Three Percenters,” which the Anti-Defamation League calls “a militia movement” and describes the tattoo as “very popular among anti-government extremists.”

On a conference call with reporters Saturday after his selection, Rohrwasser addressed the tattoo.

“I got that tattoo when I was a teenager, and I have a lot of family in the military, and I thought it stood for a military support symbol at the time,” said Rohrwasser, according to Masslive.com. “Obviously, it evolved into something that I do not want to represent and when I look back at it, I should have done way more research before I put any mark or symbol like that on my body. It is not something I ever want to represent. So it will be covered.”

Rohrwasser went to New England with the 159th selection. Rohrwasser connected on 18 of 21 field goal attempts — including a career-long 53-yarder to beat Western Kentucky — and 35 of 36 extra points while booting 33 touchbacks on kickoffs last fall as a senior at Marshall, earning Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year honors. The Catholic Central High School graduate was the first kicker selected in this year’s draft. He reacted to the selection on social media, tweeting “Excited to be a Patriot!”

Rohrwasser split his time between football and soccer at CCHS, but dedicated his fall to football full-time with Holy Trinity in 2014, starting at quarterback in addition to his kicking duties for a team that finished 5-3 and just missed a berth in the Section II Class C playoffs.

Holy Trinity coach John Barber, who coached Rohrwasser during his senior year of high school when CCHS joined the merged program that then included Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons and Saratoga Central Catholic, was thrilled when he heard that Rohrwasser had been selected.

“My son was on the couch, and I was getting ready to do some stuff,” Barber said. “All of a sudden, [my son] starts yelling ‘Justin got drafted! Justin got drafted!’ It was pretty exciting.”

Rohrwasser never missed an extra point in high school and was a Class C first-team all-state selection by the New York State Sportswriters Association in 2014.


“We were spoiled. We knew the ball was always going through the end zone for a touchback [on kickoffs] and on our extra points — as long as we got the snap down — we were good to go,” Barber said. “He’s very consistent, he’s very true to form. He had a powerful leg in high school, and he kicked that [53-yarder] during the season at Marshall. He’s done great things.” 

Rohrwasser comes to New England as the heir apparent to the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, Stephen Gostkowski, who was released in March after 14 seasons with the team. Gostkowski missed most of the 2019 season due to a left hip injury, with the Patriots turning to three different veteran kickers — Nick Folk, Mike Nugent and Kai Forbath — throughout the rest of the season.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Rohrwasser started his college career at Rhode Island, where he made 15 of 20 field goals and 39 of 40 extra points between the 2015 and 2016 seasons before transferring to Marshall. As a redshirt junior in 2018, Rohrwasser made 15 of 21 field goals and 44 of 46 extra points.

THREE DANES SIGN

Three UAlbany football players signed free-agent deals after the draft ended.

Wide receiver Juwan Green is headed to the Atlanta Falcons, cornerback Jarren Williams signed with the Arizona Cardinals, while defensive end/linebacker Eli Mencer joined the Seattle Seahawks.

Green had 83 catches for 1,386 yards and 17 touchdowns. Williams had 46 tackles last season, and Mencer had 61 tackles and 14.5 sacks.

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