RECRUITING: Oklahoma Lineman Has Offer From Gators

Although it's been a rather cool spring so far in Ada, Oklahoma and other parts of the Midwest, when it comes to football recruiting things are heating up in a big time way for offensive lineman Chad Roark, a 6-3, 285-pounder who does double duty by anchoring Ada High School's defensive line. He's a hot Division I prospect whose fifth offer arrived in the mail this week from the University of Florida.

The attention is already growing for the big lineman who lives only one hour from the Oklahoma University campus in Norman, Oklahoma. College coaches are already starting to make recruiting visits and he has had his share stop by at the school. "It's good, a bunch of coaches coming around and everything," Roark said.

His ever-growing offer list just increased. No doubt the offers will continue to flow in and he will have a very difficult decision to make.

"I just got an offer from Florida this weekend," he said. "Florida State, LSU, Colorado State, and Iowa State have also offered."

The Florida offer wasn't a big surprise. "I went down there over spring break," he said. "They told me I would get one in a couple of weeks. I got it and called them when it came in the mail."

Roark took in a good little bit from his brief stay in Gainesville and came away with favorable impressions of different parts of the visit.

"I liked the visit," he said. "I stayed there for the night and went to LSU the next day. I liked 'The Swamp' and the level of competition. They are really intense. They are going to be good this year and a force to be reckoned with. I was with the offensive line coach (John Hevesy) the whole time. He brought me around all the coaches and met with Coach (Urban) Meyer. I met some players but I don't really remember their names. I met a lot of the linemen."

Roark has pushed the process maybe more than most at this early stage. He has taken the initiative to call a lot of the coaches that are paying him the attention at a time when they are not allowed to contact him directly. He likes the people and the process so far.

"I talk to a bunch of them from most of the schools I have visited," he said. "I like all the guys that are recruiting me from every school. I am building relationships with lots of them."

Roark has been a busy man, visiting numerous college campuses with and without his brother Craig, a US Army All-American who signed with Nebraska back in February. He has already made trips to Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, LSU, Florida, Florida State, and Tennessee and there could be more visits in store. He's not sure about summer camp plans, either, saying he may not camp at all.

Due to its proximity to Ada, he grew up an Oklahoma fan but even though he's a fan of the Sooners and even though his brother is in Lincoln, just 6.5 hours away, he says he's going to keep all options open.

"I am from Oklahoma, so I would say OU (was his favorite)," he said. "I like pretty much anything now. I look at everything."

He is a dedicated athlete who lifts weights in the evening and plays basketball in his spare time. Roark was a big time wrestler earlier in his high school career.

"I used to wrestle when I was a sophomore," he said. "I was a 35-3 and would have been a state champion but I broke my foot before the tournament."

Spring ball has started in Oklahoma and his Ada HS team is already doing work in helmets only right now. They will have a week in full pads at the end of the spring drills followed by a jamboree game. Because so many seniors graduated, there are mixec expectations for the 2005 season.

"We lost 27 seniors but our defense returns six three-year starters," he said. "Our defense should be pretty solid and if they can't score on us, they can't win. I expect a lot of 7-0 kind of games."

Roark doesn't mind going both ways if it helps his team. In fact, he rather enjoys doing double duty.

"I like both (sides of the ball)," he said. "I use my leverage and am aggressive. I try to be a leader out there. I try and set the tempo quick."

Because he plays so well on either side of the ball, it's pretty much up in the air at this point where he will play at the next level.

"Some colleges are recruiting me on defense and some on offense," he said. "It depends on which school."

The final decision won't have to be made for another nine months or so. Still, that college choice is a huge one and he will have many factors to weigh between schools. He has started the thinking process along those lines and lists a couple of early reasons for his final decision, when it comes.

"Just the feeling I get there," he said of the school he chooses to sign. "If it feels like home to me or not, that kind of thing (is important). Facilities don't really matter. I just want to feel comfortable and needed. It will be my decision, but I will ask my head coach and my offensive line coach what they think about the schools."

The University of Florida will have a huge need on the offensive line for the upcoming recruiting season. An offensive lineman the caliber of Chad Roark is something the Florida Gators want and need to impress enough to sign in February of 2006. At least for now, it seems that Roark is open to thought of playing ball miles away in the sunshine state.

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