Third Rock To College

Fritz Rock is grateful for the opportunities his oldest brother has given him. Soon, the class of 2009 receiver will be cashing in with a full-ride to a major-college program.

Perhaps even Notre Dame.

Years ago, Patrick Rock made a promise to his two younger brothers. Once he was financially able, he would move them out of their rough neighborhood in Miami, Fla., up to the state of Minnesota with him.

The elder Rock used his football talents to land a scholarship to Wisconsin-Stout, a Division III program. He graduated, and became a teacher, landing in the Gopher State, back in 1999. A few years later, he moved up Reggie Rock, who starred at Cretin Derham-Hall before landing at Iowa State.

Four years passed, and Patrick, now a high school assistant principal, was able to move his youngest brother Fritz up north, just before his freshman year. Now Fritz Rock is a star receiver at Wayzata Senior High, and holds a scholarship offer to Minnesota.

"He made good on his promise to us," the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Rock said. All the Big Ten programs, schools from the SEC, ACC, and Notre Dame, you name it, are showing interest at this time. "He told us he was going to give us a better opportunity.

"He moved Reggie up first, and he graduated from Cretin and went off to college. He isn't playing football anymore but he is still enrolled at Iowa State. I'm going to do the exact same thing and go to college.

"(Patrick) doesn't do too much talking," Rock continued. They are all still close with their folks back home. "He's a drill sergeant when he wants to be. To be honest with you, everything I know as far as football and everything is a credit to him. He is the one that put the football in mine and Reggie's hands. When we go home to Miami, he knows a lot of pro and college players, friends that he used to play with, and he puts me and Reggie and the rest of our family, he runs us like crazy. He has no problems putting us out in the 110-degree weather in Miami."

All that is paying off.

Despite not catching many balls this past season, and not playing a lick of defense, programs love Rock's potential on both sides of the ball. He and his 4.55 speed (Illinois camp) in the 40-yard dash, caught 25 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns. Wayzata and its stingy defense went 9-2 despite going through three different quarterbacks, and Rock was used as more of a blocking receiver.

Rock camped at Notre Dame last summer, his first and only time on campus, and worked out with Irish assistant coach Rob Ianello, and prep standouts Michael Floyd and John Goodman.

"Coach (Charlie) Weis walked over and he told Mike, why don't you commit, and then you can help us land Fritz the following year," Rock explained. "And Mike and I just smiled together.

Obviously that could now possibly happen, with Floyd eventually joining the Irish fold. The two sometimes workout together back home in Minneapolis.

"I worked out with Mike Floyd and John Goodman at the camp," Rock said. "That was kind of a good feeling being with those two, and basically we were on a separate field than everyone else, and coach Ianello worked us like there was no tomorrow. It was a great experience and they just told me to take care of business this upcoming year and we'll see what happens.

"Honestly, as a kid, everyone knows Notre Dame football. It was just hard to believe I was there on their football field working out and seeing just people while I was there. I camped at Notre Dame, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. Out of those four schools, Minnesota offered me. Still regardless, it was being at Notre Dame, seeing what I saw, as we were going through the complex, the athletic center. I saw the guys there over the summer doing their lifts. I saw (Jimmy) Clausen, seeing Armando Allen, I wasn't star struck, but it was kind of cool seeing those guys walking by."

Rock and Ianello talk at least once per month, and he plans on attending Notre Dame's junior day on Feb. 24.

"I camped out there, but I never actually got to see the facilities and academic parts," Rock said. Now, I'm looking forward to doing that, and I think we're going to watch a basketball game after that (the Irish host Syracuse). I'm coming with my family and we're going to see what South Bend is all about."

Ianello and Rock have talked about Notre Dame's current interest.

"One thing he did share with me, was they're focusing on the class of 2008, getting that classed wrapped up," Rock said. "My brother told me they have the nation's No. 1 recruiting class. (Ianello) said after signing day they'll focus on 09. He told me they have strong interest in me."

The interest is mutual.

Educationally it's a good school," Rock said. He has a cumulative 2.5 GPA, and is taking the ACT in February. "That's first thing and most important. A degree will take you further in life than football ever will. Tradition is a plus when deciding what school you're going to go to. And when I think of a school and where it's at, and location, Notre Dame is the deal in every way possible. Then when you think about the football program, they had a down season last year. But they're going to be back in the race. Everyone knows that.

"The whole recruiting process is wide open for me. Something me and my brother talked about, ideally, we want to know where I'm going to school by the beginning of my senior year."

Wayzata won a state championship Rock's freshman year, and that's how he wants to go out this fall.

"We had a end of the year meeting between me, my brother, head coach and defensive coordinator," Rock said. "They said I will get the opportunity to play defense, but then there will be a chance I wont play it, or I might only play it. I just want to help my team. I want to go out with a state championship. The 09 class has been together awhile, and we want to get rings."

Rock has attended the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio, Texas the past two years. He reported a bench press max of 275 pounds, and a squat max of 315.

"I knew what to expect when I got down there as far as the level of competition, the people that were going to be there, the dos and don'ts," Rock explained. He beat Damien Thigpen, a scout.com top-100 player, when facing him. "I thought I did pretty well. One thing I wish, I wish I would've had some better throws. I know you can't help that. You're paired up with who you're paired up with, but it was a good experience, and you have to make the best of it."

That's something the Rock brothers certainly know how to do.


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