Roy Hemsley once fancied himself more of a basketball prospect, but that was until his focus on the gridiron over the last few years revealed the type of potential that college coaches salivate over. Many of them have ratcheted up the intensity of their courtship after reviewing what he modestly admits was impressive junior film.
“Things went pretty well,” said Hemsley. “We finished 7-3 and we came just short of the playoffs. It was a big stepping stone I guess you could say in my career. I improved a lot this year. I became more physical. My first year, I’m not going to say I was shy, but I was kind of scared to get hurt. I just got a better feel for the game to be honest and I just continue to improve. My run blocking and pass block improved a lot. I’m just looking to continue to improve, continue to get better and learn all I can learn from my coaching staff.”
Though listed at 6-5, 270, Hemsley insists he is now up to 6-7, 275 while still maintaining the quickness and flexibility that he had previously become known for.
“Coaches all tell me that I have really good footwork from basketball,” said Hemsley. “I’ve been playing basketball in AAU since I was about nine or so. Just basketball in general I’ve been playing since I was five or six. So that’s helped out a lot with my footwork. I’m nimble footed. I’m pretty quick. I read defenses well, as well as offenses, because I play both ways.”
In college it will be offense all the way. So far Arizona State, Washington State, USC, UCLA, California, and San Diego State have all extended scholarship offers, and all six are courting him as an offensive tackle. More appear to be on the verge of following suit, and Michigan may be among them.
“One of the coaches actually called my head coach, I’m not sure which one,” he said. “(The Michigan assistant) said that I was on their radar and I guess they were close to offering.”
“I would like (the contact with Michigan) to increase. I’m highly interested in Michigan as well. It is a really prestigious program. I think I could add on to the team if I ended up going there.”
Should the Wolverines enter Helmsley’s recruitment more definitively they obviously will have to clear the distance hurdle, but it may not be as high many might suspect. There are factors the four-star prospect says will weigh much heavier in his decision making process.
“Let’s say god forbid I’m not able to play football… [I want] some place I can still go to school regardless of whether or not I’m playing football,” Hemsley explained. “Some place that I can get a good education. I know that Michigan is really up there because there are a lot of kids at my school that have applied to Michigan just as regular students, so I know they’re prestigious. I want to go tome place that I could be the best I can and just given the best chance to succeed. Those are things that I’m looking for.”
And so what about proximity to home?
“My mom (who is from Ohio) has family back east,” he stated. “I have a few relatives in Tennessee as well. I’m sure wherever I go I’ll have a family member or two. I actually have an aunt that lives in Michigan. I have family all around, so I think I’ll feel warm and welcome.”
Visits will play a major role in determining that comfort. The Golden State star hopes to hit the visit trail in earnest in the coming months, and that includes a trek across the country to check out a few of his further away options. If all goes according to plan his recruitment won’t linger too long past the summer.
“Probably fall of my senior year… that’s when I’m thinking about making my decision as to where I’m going,” Hemsley said. “We’ll see how things go. That’s most likely when I’ll end up signed.”
That timeline gives most of his suitors a clear window to make up ground on three programs that are currently standing out.
“I’m really high on USC, UCLA and Cal,” Hemsley said. “All three of those are great schools. I feel like I can be the best that I can be as an athlete. Get it done in the classroom as well. Those are the schools that I’m really high on now, but anything is bound to happen. We’ll see where things end up.”