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NJ Lineman hopes to become blip on Gator's radar

With five departing seniors on the OL this year and five more after the 2005 season, the Gators have "big uglies" on the mind when it comes to recruiting the class of 2005. This isn't a great year for recruiting OL talent in the state of Florida, either, so when it comes to recruiting, watch for the Gators to search the entire country to bring in quality linemen. New Jersey's big, talented Brian Roche from Don Bosco Prep could find himself part of this class. <b>ALSO: Highlight video!</b

Because Brian Roche was an early commitment to Rutgers, he needs some introduction to Florida fans. Originally, he weighed offers from Miami and Rutgers before choosing his home state school, but the lack of improvement in the Rutgers program in the 2004 season made Roche re-think his possibilities. He's decommitted Rutgers and is looking at several schools, one of which is Florida.

"I am probably most talented as a pass blocker," said Roche in a self-assessment. "I think I am pretty good at run and pass, but most compliments come as a pass blocker. I am 6-5 and 285. I think I am real athletic for my size as I have run a 4.9 second 40."

Roche is friends with Brian Cushing, who is rated five stars by Cushing, from Bergen (NJ) Catholic, is scheduled to visit Florida January 28. Apparently, the stud linebacker has created an interest in Florida with his friend

"You know Cushing right?" asked Roche rhetorically. "We were talking about it and I am definitely interested in taking a visit there."

While internet rumors have it that Cushing and Roche don't like each other, there's nothing to it says, Roche.

"Me and Cushing personally? No," he said. "Me and Cushing get along. Our schools don't like each other.

"In New Jersey, the best two schools are Don Bosco (Ramsey, NJ) and Bergen Catholic. We are like 10 minutes away from each other and huge rivals. We actually took a visit to Louisville together."

Stocking the offensive line is a necessity for the Gators who will lose 10 players out of the next two classes due to graduation. Because the Gators are searching far and wide for outstanding players, the interest in someone like Roche should heat up in the next few weeks. Roche knows what he is looking for in a school, so he will be checking out the Gators every bit as much as Florida checks him out.

"Throughout the whole process, I was looking at a lot of different things," Roche said. "Over time, my criteria have changed a lot. In the beginning it was all about the school itself, the academics and what not. But, the way I look at it now is, wherever I go they are going to be pretty good schools and a good education and I will make money when I get out if I don't make it to the next level."

In terms of football he looks for "the chemistry I have with the coaches. The next thing is I want to play for a team that is going to win…play in a lot of big games, be on T.V., conference championships, BCS, things like that. The third thing is how soon I will play and how I will fit into their whole system."

Since he decommitted from Rutgers, he's opened recruiting up to a whole new slate of schools.

"Right now it's Michigan State and Louisville," he said of his leaders. "I have a visit to North Carolina State on the 14th. I will probably take a visit to Notre Dame on the 7th or 28th and then I have one more visit open and I will have to see what happens."

If the chance came to visit Gainesville on an official visit, he said, "I would definitely love to do that."

Roche has already done his homework about Florida and the Southeastern Conference.

"I think the SEC is a great conference and may be the best in the country," he said. "I saw Coach (Urban) Meyer while he was at Utah and remember reading all about him at Utah and wishing he was at a bigger school so I could play for him maybe. I was really interested in what I heard about him and what they looked like."

One thing for certain, grades are not an issue for this 4-star lineman.

"I have a 1280 on the SAT and a 3.5 GPA," he said.

Brian Roche is a new blip on the radar for Florida. While Florida hasn't shown interest thus far, there are reasons to believe that Roche will be a potential item for the Gators in the very near future.

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