During last football season Scottsdale (AZ) Chaparral DE Craig Roh was on short end of the rivalry stick. A fantastic showing on the gridiron was somewhat dampened by one small development.
“(The season) went pretty well, but we lost to our rivals, Saguaro,” he said. “I didn’t like that that much (laughing). We went like 10-3. I played defensive end and had I had 100 tackles and 15.5 sacks. When we got inside the twenty I played tight end mainly for blocking. I played tight end all my life before that, so I do have hands (laughing). “
All joking aside, Roh is an explosive athlete. At 6-5, 235-lbs. he is capable of running the forty in 4.6 seconds. However, his abilities didn’t garner as much early attention as those of one of his counterparts at Saguaro, Corey Adams (whom Michigan has offered). Lately, though, the rivalry pendulum has been swinging a little more in Roh's direction.
“I had no offers a month ago, and then they just started pouring in,” said Roh. “I love it. It beats having no offers (laughing). I figure I have 28 or 29 offers. LSU just offered (Thursday). All of these coaches have been telling me that I have a really good motor, an explosive first step, and that I’m a good speed rusher off the edge. I would like to compare myself to Chris Long, but that may be pushing it a little bit.”
Whether that is indeed “pushing it” remains to be seen. What’s already certain is that many of the country’s power programs are enamored with Roh’s talents. Rich Rodriguez was among the most recent to throw his school’s hat in the ring.
“He was saying that he is trying to change the program from having bigger guys that run up the middle to having more speed guys,” Roh said recalling his discussion with Michigan’s headman. “He said I would fit in as a rushing-off-of-the-edge defensive end… a speed guy.”
Distance from home would seem to be one of the factors working against Rodriguez & company, but in Roh’s case it may not be much of an issue. As a matter of fact, location could actually be a positive factor for the Wolverines before all is said and done.
I don’t think distance will be a factor at all,” he said. “If I feel it’s a good fit, I’m going to go there. I think (the decision) will be based on academics, the football program overall, how (the program has done and how I think it’s going to be doing, and just an overall feel for how I fit into the program. Besides I have a lot of family in (Grand Rapids) Michigan. Pretty much my dad’s side of the family is there. I go there every summer for two weeks. Some of my family members are Michigan fans and I am familiar with the program… seeing them on TV and hearing about them before they even started recruiting me.”
Another non-factor for Roh is early playing time.
“I’m guessing I probably would be redshirted my freshman year a lot of places I go,” he said. “I think I need some time to learn just how the college game is played. So if I have to wait a year, I wouldn’t mind that.”
With his list of criteria in place, Roh will use unofficial visits to help sort through his list of contenders. At this point no school appears to have an edge.
“I didn’t grow up a fan of any school,” reported Roh. “I don’t even have a top five. It’s more like a top 10; Oklahoma, Stanford, my instate schools Arizona State and Arizona, LSU, Michigan, USC, Penn State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Miami. I already went to Arizona and USC. This week I’m actually going to be going to Stanford and then I think I’m going to have unofficial visits to Stanford, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame in this upcoming three weeks. I definitely will be coming up to (Ann Arbor) when I’m in Michigan (visiting family). It’s not even that far from Grand Rapids. We’ll definitely make a detour.
“If everything goes perfect, I’d like to make it during my football
season,” he continued regarding his decision timeline. “But if I
don’t fee 100% with a college, then I won’t make a decision.”