Mitchell Roland, an athletic 6-0, 210 defensive end and outside linebacker, broke into the starting lineup about this time of the season as a sophomore on a team that did not lose in the regular season.
"Last year I started beginning in the third or fourth game and I have started every game since then," says Roland, who says that he believes he is a better player than he was at this time last year.
"I believe I have gotten stronger and I have added a lot of weight," he points out. "Last year I was only around 5-11, 190 so I added a lot of pounds in the offseason.
Mitchell Roland is shown in Auburn's Champions Challenge Game at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery where AHS defeated Spain Park.
Roland says he still has growing to do. "The doctor told me that I should get to about six-foot-two."
On offense for Coach Tim Carter's team he also sees some action at tight end and comes in as a blocking back in goal line situations. In the spring he plays baseball for AHS at first base, third base and as a pitcher.
He attended a football camp at Auburn University this summer where his father, Benji Roland, was a standout defensive lineman. "I was also supposed to go to a camp at Georgia, but I didn't get to go," he says.
Roland notes that he is getting recruiting letters from colleges with the most coming from Auburn. "Auburn is my favorite, of course, since I grew up here," he says.
Roland and his teammates knocked off Enterprise High 57-44 in a wild game in their biggest test so far this season in what was a matchup of Top 10 6A teams at Duck Samford Stadium. AHS fell behind 31-14 in the first half and then scored 43 straight points to take control of the contest.
The junior recalls that the AHS coaches "got on to us pretty good at halftime" and says after that the Tigers came out of the locker room in the third quarter with a more aggressive attitude. Roland helped set the tone for the comeback with a sack followed by multiple quarterback pressures and tackles on the Enterprise backs.
Roland, whose team will play at Oxford High on Friday night in the first of three straight road games, is expected to be at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night to check out the at Auburn contest.