OL Very High on UM

Brian Roche is used to winning. He hasn't been on the losing end of a high school football game since he began playing at the varsity level in tenth grade. Now he's gearing up for another big year.

"We expect nothing less than another championship," Roche said. "That's our goal around here. We want to be the best, to keep the winning tradition going."

At 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds, Roche has developed into one of the top prospects in the entire state.

"I feel I'm a lot more athletic than most offensive linemen," he said. "I have better feet. I think that helps me a lot."

Roche, a full academic qualifier, credits a lot of that to his background in basketball.

"I've played basketball my whole life," he said. "Even before I started playing football, I was always playing. I think that helps me a lot on the football field."

The talented lineman started racking up the scholarship offers this past spring. He's narrowed his list down to four.

"It's Rutgers, Miami, BC, and Stanford," he said. "I've been to Rutgers and BC. I'm going to Miami on July 12th. I'll make a decision on whether to take that Stanford trip after I get back from Miami."

Interestingly, Roche didn't have a whole lot of interest in UM until recently.

"Basically, the whole thing is that I didn't think it was a good enough school," he said. "That seems to be the opinion of a lot of people. Then in the spring, Coach Cristobal dropped by the school and left some papers about the school. It was about 20 pages and put to rest any negative thoughts I had. Then I talked to him (on the phone). I realized it was a much better school than I thought. It seems like a nice place and I'm looking forward to going there in a few weeks."

After enjoying a successful unofficial visit to Rutgers recently, it appears that Rutgers is Miami's main competition here.

"After my trip to Miami, I'll be able to sit down and figure everything out hopefully," he said. "I'd like to have a decision by the middle part of July."

Roche, who claims written offers from all of his favorites, had a chance to prove himself in front of several college coaches at a combine in New Jersey back in the spring. A coach from UM was among many coaches on hand for the event.

"It was a Northeast combine," he said. "I had a chance to go up against two of the best players there -- Callahan Bright and Melvin Alaeze."

Roche said he performed well against both players and talked about each of them and what they bring to the table.

"Bright is just absolutely amazing," he said. "He's phenomenal. He's just really big, over 300 pounds, and very quick. He can run through guys or run around them, he's that type of athlete. I was watching him against some other guys and it was like watching a man competing with boys. He's awesome. Alaeze is just really fast. He's real quick coming off the edge."

The rising senior said he's comfortable with competition he'll be getting at any program.

"I figure that everyone has a bunch of linemen," he said. "You won't find many that don't. I'm going to have to compete wherever I go so it's not really a big deal to me."

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