USM pulls trigger on Gunner
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USM pulls trigger on Gunner

Gunner Roach helped lead UMS-Wright High to the class 4A state championship crown with efficient passing and above-average mobility, but recruiting hadn't been as successful until Wednesday evening when his first offer came in.

"Southern Miss offered me," said Gunner Roach.

The 6-foot-2, 188-pound two-sport star, who shines on the diamond and as Mobile (Ala.) UMS-Wright's starting quarterback, had been waiting on his first football offer for some time.

"I like the way they throw it around, really," he added on the Golden Eagles. "I like a dominant passing team."

Roach's team wasn't a dominant passing one in 2012, but he led the efficient passing offense through the playoffs all the way to the state 4A crown in Alabama.

Like that day in December when he knew he was a state champ, Wednesday was going to be a good day with offer No. 1 in the bag.

"It feels good," he admitted. "It relieves some stress because I've been seeing all these other guys get them and I don't see what they have better than me."

Now one of only a handful of quarterbacks in the state with an offer to his name, Roach is hoping USM's breaking of the ice propels him to even more in a short span like it has for signal-callers like Devlin Hodges, Kendrick Doss and Malik Rosier in-state.

"I'm hoping this will set it off because these coaches have been saying the same thing," he said. "UAB, UL-Lafayette, WKU and Samford have come by this spring as well. I haven't really had any big guys (schools) yet, they came late last year though.

"Coach Botkin from South Carolina I know is coming by in a couple of weeks. I talked to Coach Roper from Duke last week, too."

Roach isn't simply relying on spring visits for his interest to pick up and the offers to pule on, he'll hit the road plenty this summer on the camp circuit.

"I'm going to hit every one day camp I can this summer," he outlined. "Georgia, Florida and probably South Carolina just so I can visit. Duke will be private, Ole Miss and more."

Roach threw for 1,800 yards as a junior in 2012 and completed 9-of-13 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown in the title game victory over Oneonta ((Ala.) High.