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Rodney Landers (born May 13, 1986) is an American football player. He played college football as the starting quarterback for the James Madison Dukes of James Madison University (JMU). He was not selected in the 2009 NFL Draft, where due to his speed and flexibility he had been considered a potential defensive back, running back, wide receiver, or quarterback prospect. He is currently signed with the Richmond Revolution of the Indoor Football League.

Early yearsEdit

Landers was born in Bethesda, Maryland and grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he attended Tallwood High School. He played as a quarterback and as senior threw for 815 yards and eight touchdowns and ran for 644 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was twice named second-team all-district as a junior and senior, and, as a senior, was named the first-team All-Tidewater quarterback. He also participated in the Virginia state all-star game.[1]

College careerEdit

Landers spent his first year at JMU, 2004, as a redshirt. In 2005, he saw action in eight games where he completed five of seven pass attempts for 47 yards and a touchdown and ran for 212 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. He also played a role on special teams where he recorded tackles against Massachusetts and Delaware. In 2006, Landers saw action in eight games as a back-up quarterback, wide receiver, and running back. He completed four of six pass attempts for 29 yards, ran for 222 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, and caught six passes for 61 yards.[1]

In 2007, Landers was named a team captain and a starter. He started in all of JMU's games. He completed 130 of 205 pass attempts for a 0.634 completion rate, 1,678 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Landers set the JMU single-season quarterback rushing record with 1,273 yards. At Rhode Island, he set a school record with 408 yards of total offense (166 rushing and 242 passing yards). Landers was named the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Offensive Player of the Week after the games against Rhode Island and Villanova, the team co-Most Valuable Player, first-team all-state by the Roanoke Times, and second-team All-CAA. He was one of only two quarterbacks ranked in the top-65 rushers for the season.[1] Landers helped lead JMU to an 8–4 record, and an appearance in the Division I FCS playoffs, where they lost to Appalachian State in the first round, to finish ranked number-12 in the nation.[1]

In 2008, Landers returned as the Dukes' starting quarterback.[1] That season, he completed 112 of 177 passes for 1,534 yards, 21 touchdowns, and just four interceptions.[2] During the 2008 season, Landers helped lead the Dukes to a 12–2 record, including a semifinals loss to Montana, and a number-three final ranking. He was named an Associated Press Division I FCS second-team All-American, first-team All-CAA, the CAA Offensive Player of the Year, and the Eastern College Athletic Conference Player of the Year.[3][4][5] Landers also won the Dudley Award, which is awarded to the most outstanding Division I college football player in the state of Virginia. It was the first time since 1998 that it had gone to a player not from one of the two Division I FBS teams in the state, Virginia or Virginia Tech.[4] He was also finished second among three finalists for the Walter Payton Award, awarded to the most outstanding player in Division I FCS football, which eventually went to Armanti Edwards of Appalachian State.[6]

College statisticsEdit

 James Madison   Passing   Rushing
Season GP GS Rating Cmp Att  % Yds TD Int Att Yds Avg TD
2005 8 174.97 7 5 71.4 47 1 0 25 224 8.5 2
2006 8 107.27 4 6 66.7 29 0 0 24 222 9.2 1
2007 12 12 148.21 130 205 63.4 1,678 13 5 223 1,273 5.7 12
2008 14 14 170.73 112 177 63.3 1,534 21 4 268 1,770 6.6 16
Totals 42 26 159.52 253 393 64.4 3,288 35 9 540 3,489 6.5 31

Professional careerEdit

He was considered a prospect at several skill positions for the 2009 NFL Draft, but was unable to run the 40-yard dash due to an injury sustained in the FCS championship semi-finals. At the James Madison University Pro Day, Landers performed position drills as a defensive back, running back, and wide receiver. After going undrafted, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers invited him to try out as a quarterback at their rookie mini-camp.[7][8] There, the coaching staff was impressed by Landers' performance, and noted his potential as a cornerback, special teams player, or quarterback in the wildcat formation. In the fall of 2009, Landers was signed to the Richmond Revolution, an expansion team in the Indoor Football League.[9][10][11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Rodney Landers Biography, JMUSports.com, Official Web site of James Madison University Athletics, retrieved January 11, 2009.
  2. Rodney Landers Players Page, Sports Illustrated.com, retrieved 11 January 2009.
  3. Dukes named to seven sports network All-America positions, JMUSPorts.com, Official Web site of James Madison University Athletics, 6 January 2009, retrieved 11 January 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 JMU quarterback Landers wins Dudley Award, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12 December 2008, retrieved 11 January 2009.
  5. Landers Named ECAC's Top Football Player, JMUSports.com, Official Web site of James Madison Dukes Athletics, 8 January 2009, retrieved 11 January 2009.
  6. Matthews wins national award; JMU players cited, JMUSports.com, Official Web site of James Madison University Athletics, 18 December 2008, retrieved 11 January 2009.
  7. 'Leave It All On the Field', The Breeze, April 30, 2009.
  8. New QBs audition, Daily News Record, April 25, 2009.
  9. Landers gets a look at cornerback, The Tampa Tribune, May 4, 2009.
  10. Former James Madison quarterback Rodney Landers impresses during Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie minicamp, St. Petersburg Times, May 4, 2009.
  11. Skolnitsky Signs Deal with Redskins; Landers Impresses Buccaneers, WVIR-TV NBC 29, May 6, 2009.
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